Since 1 July 1989, a law establishing the family patrimony has entered into force in order to promote economic equality between married couples and, since 2002, between couples in civil union.
Essentially this law created the family patrimony which consists of property belonging to either of the parties or to the two (2) parties and whose value is divided.
Among the properties listed below as part of the family patrimony, notwithstanding the matrimonial regime of the spouses or the title of the property, one finds:
- the family residence;
- the furniture garnishing the family residence;
- secondary residence and the furniture garnishing the secondary residence;
- motor vehicles used to transport members of the family;
- Private pension funds accumulated during the marriage;
- RRSPs accumulated during the marriage; and
- accrued earnings from the Quebec Pension Plan during the marriage.
However, property received by either of the spouses before or during the marriage/Civil union, by succession or donation, will be excluded from the family patrimony.
With respect to the partition of the value of the family patrimony, the net value of the assets mentioned above is shared between the parties (after the deduction of debts for the acquisition, renovation and maintenance).
In addition to the scenarios described above for the partition of the family patrimony and depending on the circumstances of the case, the Court may also allocate certain property to one of the parties as payment of their share of the family patrimony or order the debtor spouse to make such payments over a period of time not exceeding 10 years
Where a property belonging to the family patrimony has, in whole or in part, been alienated or diverted in the year preceding the divorce or separation and has not been replaced, article 421 of the Q.C.Q. provides that a compensatory payment may be awarded to the spouse who cannot fully benefit from the division of the family patrimony. Article 422 of the Q.C.Q. provides that, exceptionally, the court may order that there be no division of insurable earnings registered under the Québec Pension Plan or similar programs where an injustice would result from the short duration of the marriage or civil union, the squandering of some assets or the bad faith of the other party.
Family patrimony is an essential component of our family law structure. For clarification and additional information, do not hesitate to contact us.
Prior to instituting divorce proceedings, have you thought about family mediation?