Previously published in Examiner:
Part three of the Common Law Marriage Series:
Divorce has both a legal and a psychological component. One of the most devastating life situations for Montrealers, which affect our psyche and our mental health is divorce. A divorce can start and end fairly well, or it can start and end badly. There are so many emotions to consider in the dynamics of divorce including individual, couple, and family social, work-related and legal dynamics.
What is of utmost importance is how the couple handle the divorce emotionally, because their level of stress, anxiety, depression, coping skills, and so on will set the tone for all the other components mentioned above.
However, this emotional distress is not limited to divorce, it extends to legal separations and common-law marriages which are so prevalent in Montreal and Quebec.
No Rights for common-law breakups in Montreal and Quebec:
The Matrimonial regime has several options afforded to legal spouses, which includes the division of property after a divorce or separation. However, the common-law couple is entitled to take back just what they came into the union with, without much other legal recourse. There are no protected rights for the wife and children to live in the family home, and often time, the women have no real assets of any kind.
A Montreal woman who lived with a well to do businessman and had three children as a result of that union has challenged the law in Quebec Superior Court. She is claiming alimony for her ten-year union with this man. She feels she has earned the right to receive alimony as if she was his legal wife. She is asking for 50 million dollars and $56,000 a month support. The woman met the businessman overseas and he enticed her to come back to Canada with him, but he never married her. They lived as husband and wife and during their 10 years together, they had three children together.
Quebec law stipulates that the names of the family cannot be revealed in civil matters. Nevertheless, the woman’s attorney Anne Marie Goldwater can be mentioned. She states, “that it comes down to a question of dignity.” However, Quebec law does allow for child support payments and the man has been paying for child support since their breakup.