Legal situation of de facto spouses in Quebec Civil Law



Lavallée C, Belleau H, Guilhermont É. (2017). La situation juridique des conjoints de fait québécois. Droit et cultures, 73(1), 69-89.


This article describes the legal situation of unmarried cohabitants (known also as de facto spouses) in Quebec in order to both provide an evocative portrait and to bring out the characteristics that differentiate them from their Canadian counterparts. To do so, we analyze the legal reasoning of the Supreme Court of Canada in a famous case known as Eric c. Lola. In that case, the provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec, which do not provide the same protection to the facto spouses and married spouses, were attacked on the grounds of equality rights protected by the Canadian Constitution. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the law by a very narrow majority on the basis of the necessity to protect the freedom and independence of those who chose this lifestyle to avoid being subjected to the mandatory rules of marriage. However, based on new quantitative data, the authors suggest that this assumption might be wrong.