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Unmarried parents would get ‘parental union’ status under Quebec bill

Quebec is proposing a new legal status for unmarried, non-civil union couples with children that would set a framework for splitting family assets if the parents separate.

The “parental union” designation is the centrepiece of a family law reform bill that Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced today.

Under a parental union certain property, including the family home, furniture and vehicles, would be considered by the government as common goods regardless of who paid for them.

The value of those goods would be evenly divided between the parents if they separated, though couples would be able to withdraw from that provision or adjust its scope.

Jolin-Barrette says the new status would give legal recognition to the large number of Quebec parents who are unmarried and would provide a wider safety net for their children.

The Quebec government says that the share of unmarried couples in the province has quintupled in the last 40 years, from eight per cent in 1981 to 42 per cent in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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