If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, you may wonder how your property will be divided. What happens to your bank account? What about the house and car?
How property is divided depends on the category it belongs to. In legal terms, your property belongs to one of two categories: your family property – officially called the “family patrimony”, or property in your “matrimonial regime.”
Property Included in Your Family Patrimony
The rules on family patrimony might not apply to you in these cases:
The law provides a list of property included in the family patrimony. If your property is not mentioned in this list, then it is not considered family property.
For example, your bank account is not part of the family patrimony because it is not on the list. The family home and family car are on the list and are therefore part of the family patrimony.
You should know that property belonging only to your spouse can still be part of the family patrimony.
The value of the property included in the family patrimony will be divided equally between you and your spouse.
To figure out how much you will receive, you must do this calculation:
- determine the market value of the family property
- subtract the debts used to buy, improve, maintain and preserve the property
- subtract other amounts allowed
- divide the result by two (half for you, half for your spouse)
This calculation tells you how much you are entitled to.
In some cases, the value of the family patrimony is divided into unequal shares.
Property Included in Your Matrimonial Regime
Any property not included in your family patrimony is automatically part of your matrimonial regime.
The value of the property not included in the family patrimony will be divided according to the rules of your matrimonial regime.
These are the three types of matrimonial regimes:
These regimes are very different from each other. For example, under the matrimonial regime of separation as to property, each spouse keeps the value of her property and is responsible for her own debts. However, in a partnership of acquests, the value of the property and debts is divided between the spouses.
It is possible that none of these regimes applies to you. For example, you may have provided some other type of arrangement in a marriage contract signed before a notary.
What is your matrimonial regime?
If you signed a marriage contract at the notary’s office, your regime is the one mentioned in the contract.
If you did not sign a marriage contract at the notary’s office, or if your marriage contract did not mention a regime, then your regime depends on the date of your marriage:
- marriage before July 1, 1970: community of property
- marriage on or after July 1, 1970: partnership of acquests
Important! Your matrimonial regime might not be one of these two in these cases:
- you and your spouse were living outside Quebec when you got married
- you or your spouse were living outside Quebec when you got married and the first place you lived together was outside Quebec