Quebec to appeal ruling allowing common-law couples from seeking alimony

Quebec will ask the country’s highest tribunal for permission to appeal a controversial court ruling that has opened the door for common-law couples in the province to seek alimony and may lead to a surge in co-habitation agreements, triggered deliberations over the definition of common-law couples, and spurred debate over the role of the judiciary.

“The Quebec Court of Appeal is not giving choices to the legislator,” said Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier. “We have to see if we have more room to manoeuvre than what the court of appeal is saying, just to be sure to adapt the right solution for a situation lived by more than one million people.”

In a ruling that touched off a storm of heated debate that is still raging in the province, the Quebec Court of Appeal declared that s. 585 of the Civil Code was unconstitutional because it discriminates against common-law couples by denying them the same recourse to spousal support as people who are married or in civil unions.

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This article was originally published in The Lawyers Weekly.

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