Community of property
Community of property is a matrimonial regime under which the property consists of:
- the property that the spouses had before marriage;
- the property they subsequently acquire.
One of the spouses, often the husband, is responsible for administering all the couple’s property, while the other, often the wife, looks after her reserved property.
Categories of property
Under the regime your property is divided into 3 categories:
- the community property;
- the private property of a spouse;
- the reserved property of the other spouse.
Each spouse administers his or her own private property. One of the spouses, often the husband, is responsible for administering all the couple’s property, while the other, often the wife, looks after her reserved property.
The community property consists of:
- all the movable property owned by the spouses at the time of the marriage, such as a car, TV or toaster;
- joint assets (movable and immovable) acquired and paid for by the spouses during the marriage;
- income from the private property and proceeds from the work income of the spouse designated to work outside the home, if applicable.
Private property of a spouse
The private property of a spouse consists of:
- immovables acquired before the marriage, such as a house, cottage or condominium;
- gifts received from the other spouse under the marriage contract;
- gifts received from the other spouse during the marriage;
- legacies received from the spouse's ascendants (father, grandmother, etc); and
- compensation received by the spouse as damages for bodily or moral injury, such as compensation from the SAAQ for an injury sustained in a road accident.
Reserved property of the other spouse
The reserved property of the other spouse may consist, for example, of:
- the spouse's earnings;
- the property purchased by the spouse from his or her savings.
Partition of property
If you separate from your spouse, you must first partition your family patrimony, which means that you must divide the value of some of your property into equal shares.
After partitioning the family patrimony, you must divide the rest of your property in accordance with the rules of your matrimonial regime. Under the regime of community of property, each spouse retains his or her private property, but must share equally with the other spouse:
- the community property;
- the reserved property.
The wife may keep her reserved property by renouncing her share of the community property; she may also renounce the division of the community property if it represents a negative amount.
The husband cannot make this choice. If the community property has a negative value, only one spouse can renounce partition, the wife or the spouse with reserved property. The other spouse does not have this right.
If the community property has a positive value, it must be shared with the other spouse. However, if you are the spouse with reserved property, you can keep it if you decide to renounce the partition of the community property.
Couple who married without a contract prior to July 1, 1970
If you and your spouse married before July 1, 1970 and have not signed a marriage contract since, your matrimonial regime is community of property, which was the default option in effect up to that date.
If you and your spouse have signed a marriage contract since your marriage ceremony, you may have: