Why draw up a de facto union agreement?

If you are living in a de facto union, it is important to consult a notary in order to have protection in the event of separation or death.

The protections stipulated by the Civil Code of Québec for legally married couples do not apply to de facto (common law) spouses.

This is why it is important to have a written document that ensures the spouses’ legal protection. It allows them to set out their rights and obligations towards each other in advance, as well as the manner in which they would like to partition their property in the event of a separation. It also sets out each spouse’s contributions and responsibilities in their life together (“community of life”), including how expenses will be shared, for example. A de facto union agreement drawn up by a notary specializing in family law therefore provides excellent protection against the vicissitudes of life as a couple.

Determine the rules governing your relationship

A notary can tell you all you need to know about the legal, civil and tax implications of your union. Depending on your needs, a notary can draw up a de facto union agreement detailing all the rules that will govern your relationship.

Content of a de facto union agreement

For instance, you may wish to include provisions concerning:

  • Establishment of the shared residence and ownership rights
  • Administration and disposal of property acquired during community of life
  • Gifts of furniture and other property while still alive
  • Fate of the shared residence in the event of separation or death, such as granting the priority for the right of purchase to the former spouse
  • Establishment of the right to alimony following separation
  • Partition of certain properties on separation

To protect themselves, de facto spouses could also agree to:

  • The drafting of a notarized protection mandate
  • The drafting a notarial will (the only way to ensure that a de facto spouse inherits something after the other spouse’s death)
  • The signature by you and your spouse of the purchase contract for your home
  • The designation of your spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance