Matrimonial Regimes and Your Assets

In the Province of Québec, matrimonial regimes play a pivotal role in determining the ownership and division of assets during marriage and in the event of divorce or separation. Understanding these regimes is crucial for couples to make informed decisions about their financial arrangements. This article explores the various matrimonial regimes in Québec and their impact on assets.

1. Partnership of Acquests:

In the partnership of acquests, spouses jointly own all assets acquired during marriage. This includes both contributions made by each spouse and jointly accumulated assets. In case of divorce or separation, these assets are generally divided equally between the spouses.

2.Separation of Property:

Under the separation of property regime, spouses retain ownership of the assets they bring into the marriage and those acquired individually during the marriage. In the event of divorce or separation, each spouse maintains exclusive rights to their respective assets, with no automatic equal division.

3. Family patrimony

Family patrimony typically comprises four main categories of assets: the family residence, household furniture and appliances used for daily family life, vehicles used by the family, and pension plans or private and public retirement savings accumulated during the marriage including RRSP acconts. These assets are considered mandatory components of the family patrimony and are subject to division between spouses, regardless of any prior agreements or the specific matrimonial regime in place. However, a few exceptions to this rule may apply in certain circumstances.

Impact of Matrimonial Regimes on Assets:

The choice of a matrimonial regime significantly influences the financial consequences of a marriage. It determines how assets are managed during the union and establishes the framework for their division if the marriage dissolves. Couples are encouraged to carefully consider their financial situation, plans, and individual preferences before choosing a regime or crafting a notarized marriage contract.

Seeking Legal Guidance:

Given the complexity and legal implications of matrimonial regimes, seeking professional legal advice is crucial. Family lawyers specializing in Québec family law can provide personalized guidance, helping couples navigate the intricacies of matrimonial regimes, understand their rights and obligations, and make informed decisions that align with their unique circumstances. The family lawyers will also advise you with regard to the family patrimony that defines assets that are partitioned mandatory between spouses, no matter of prior agreement between spouses. There are also some exceptions to the partition of assets that need to be verified and assessed by the lawyer to avoid risks of partition in the event of gifts, inheritance and assets owned before marriage.

Inclusions in the Matrimonial Regime: Understanding Property and Debts

Within the matrimonial regime, property encompasses a broad range of assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage, excluding those classified under the family inheritance, gifts or gains before marriage. This definition extends to both tangible and intangible possessions, including debts.

Here are illustrative examples of property covered by the matrimonial regime:

Financial Accumulations: This involves money saved during the marriage, encompassing the combined salaries and any financial benefits derived during this period.

Real Estate Income: Any revenue generated from income properties and rentals falls within the ambit of the matrimonial regime.

Investments: With the exception of RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) and retirement plans categorized under the family patrimony, other investments become part of the matrimonial regime. This may include stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles acquired during the marriage.

Non-Family-Used Property: Ownership of property not utilized by the family, such as a vacation home or personal assets, is encompassed by the matrimonial regime.

Financial Liabilities: Debts incurred during the marriage, including credit card debts and personal loans, are included in the matrimonial regime.

The temporal aspect of property acquisition—whether it occurred before or after the marriage—is pivotal. To enhance clarity and foresight, individuals planning to marry can proactively prepare an inventory detailing pre-existing assets and debts. This inventory serves as a valuable resource in potential scenarios of divorce or the unfortunate event of a spouse’s demise. Seeking assistance from a notary or lawyer can facilitate this preparatory step, ensuring that the inventory accurately reflects the property status before the marriage.


Understanding the intricacies of matrimonial regimes is fundamental for couples in Québec. Whether opting for default legal regimes or crafting a notarized marriage contract, the choices made during marriage can have lasting effects on the ownership and division of assets. Legal professionals specializing in family law play a pivotal role in providing guidance and ensuring that couples make well-informed decisions tailored to their specific needs and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the significance of the matrimonial regime in Quebec?

The matrimonial regime in Quebec governs the legal framework surrounding property and debts acquired during a marriage, shaping the rights and responsibilities of spouses.

2. How does property inclusion in the matrimonial regime differ from the family patrimony?

While family patrimony covers specific assets and rights intended for family use, the matrimonial regime encompasses a broader spectrum of property and debts acquired during the marriage.

3. Can spouses selectively include or exclude certain assets from the matrimonial regime?

Spouses have limited control over the inclusion or exclusion of assets, as property acquired during the marriage is generally subject to the matrimonial regime. However, certain exceptions, like RRSPs in the family patrimony, exist.

4. Is it advisable to prepare an inventory of assets before marriage?

Yes, proactively preparing an inventory of assets and debts before marriage can provide clarity and foresight. This inventory becomes a valuable resource in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse.

5. How can legal professionals assist in navigating the intricacies of the matrimonial regime?

Legal professionals, such as notaries or lawyers, play a crucial role in providing guidance on property matters within the matrimonial regime. They can assist in preparing inventories, offering legal advice, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

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