You were married in another country or province and you’d like to obtain a divorce in Quebec? It is possible, under certain conditions. However, Quebec law may not apply to some aspects of your divorce, such as the rules regarding separation of property.
Knowing which laws apply will help you to understand the financial consequences of your divorce.
Conditions for getting divorced in Quebec
If you were married outside Quebec, you can obtain a divorce here if:
- You or your spouse have lived in Quebec for at least one year, and
- You have one of the three legal reasons for requesting a divorce
Quebec law or another law: it depends on the type of property
House, car, bank accounts…when you get divorced your property will be divided according to certain rules. However, as noted above, if you were married outside Quebec, it may not be the rules of Quebec that apply.
Every situation is different, and it may be complicated to determine which rules apply. It is recommended to consult a lawyer or notary to fully understand your situation and your rights.
Division of property included in the family patrimony
The law provides a list of property that is included in the family patrimony. This includes, for example, the family residence and car.
Property in the family patrimony will normally be divided according to the laws of Quebec if you and your spouse are both living in Quebec at the time of your divorce. If your spouse is living outside Quebec, the situation is more complicated, and it is recommended to consult a lawyer or notary.
Division of property in the matrimonial regime
Property that is not included in the family patrimony is automatically included in your matrimonial regime. This property will usually be divided according to the laws of the place where you lived at the time you were married. If you were living in different countries or provinces at the time you were married, the situation is more complicated and it is recommended to consult a lawyer or a notary.
You and your spouse may have also chosen your matrimonial regime in a marriage contract.
Quebec courts sometimes apply the law of another place
Even if it’s the law of another place that applies to your situation, a Quebec court could still rule on the division of property.
A Quebec court will only apply the law of another place if you or your spouse requests this and the court is able to properly understand and apply it. The judge may, for example, ask your lawyer to present an expert’s report on the law of the country or province in question.