Common law spouses : A statement from Me Goldwater on the ten-year anniversary of the Éric v. Lola decision

Feb 21, 2022

The anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Lola v. Eric case just passed. It felt incredibly sad. The Supreme Court acknowledged that it is discriminatory for Quebec to continue to deprive a certain category of women and their children of rights simply because the spouses were not married.

Quebec stands out as the only province where more than half the population finds itself without rights.

Unfortunately, the Court referred the matter back to the Government of Quebec to correct the situation and eliminate the discrimination.

Wishful thinking.

At the time, I proved that the Quebec government would never act, because this issue is too political and does not unite people. I was not mistaken. The day after the judgment, the government promised a reform. Ten years later, we are still waiting.

It is sad to see how family law has been stagnant on this important issue. I can only deplore the suffering endured by thousands of Quebec women and their children who have been impoverished by this injustice.

According to the Quebec legislature, common law spouses and their children do not make up a family. They have no family residence. They have no family patrimony. They do not have the right to occupy the family residence, except for limited “transitional” periods. The mother is not entitled to alimony, and the child is only entitled to support that is by far the lowest in Canada.

And as for the limited rights to which she can have access (unjustified enrichment, tacit partnership), the unmarried spouse is not entitled to a provision for costs to act on these legal remedies; “accessibility to justice” is therefore a myth for her.

Rest assured that Goldwater, Dubé will never give up. We want to ensure that common law spouses have the same rights as married spouses, and that all Quebec children are entitled to the same protections as all other Canadian children, regardless of the marital status of their parents.

This is our promise. This is our commitment.

Photo: Jude Beck // Unsplash

Québec Family Law Reform Leaves Most Unwed Couples Unprotected

Me Anne-France Goldwater, senior partner of Goldwater, Dubé, a Canadian leader in family law since 1981, wishes to express her deep disappointment following the Québec government’s tabling of long-awaited family law reform last month with Bill 56, the Act respecting...

Common law spouses: Me Goldwater meets the Minister of Justice

Goldwater, Dubé, a leader in Canadian family law since 1981, and its senior partner, Me Anne-France Goldwater, would like to thank Me Simon Jolin-Barrette, Québec Minister of Justice and Government House Leader, for meeting with the firm's founding partner on August...

Goldwater, Dubé welcomes senior litigator Me Daniel Romano

Goldwater, Dubé, a Canadian leader in family law since 1981, and its founder, Me Anne-France Goldwater, are pleased to welcome Me Daniel Romano to its team of senior litigators. He is an established Montréal-based lawyer whose multidisciplinary practice, rigorous work...

Peace bond (article 810 of the Criminal Code)

In the complex world of Canadian law, the commitment to not disturb public order plays a crucial role. This commitment, more commonly known as "810," stems from Article 810 of the Criminal Code. The majority of cases involving crimes against a person, such as assault...

Longueuil Deer: Me Goldwater’s Arguments Against the Slaughter

Read the Court of Appeal judgment here. Goldwater, Dubé, a Canadian leader in family law since 1981, and its senior partner Me Anne-France Goldwater, will be heard by the Quebec Superior Court in the new year to defend a cause that continues to capture the public’s...