When a couple gets divorced, the value of the family property - officially called the "family patrimony" - is usually divided equally between the spouses. But there are exceptions to this rule. In some cases, it would be very unfair to divide the family patrimony equally between the spouses. Therefore, one spouse can ask for an unequal division.
The spouse who wants the family property to be divided unequally must do the following:
- Ask the judge in the divorce papers.
- Convince the judge that dividing the property equally would be very unfair.
Here are examples of when an equal division could be unfair:
- The marriage didn't last very long.
- One spouse lost, wasted or got rid of property in an unacceptable way (e.g., by gambling or on drugs or alcohol).
- One spouse did nothing for the family and "got a free ride" at the expense of the other spouse, who did everything.
If dividing the family property equally would be unfair, the judge has some options:
- Divide the family property unequally.
- Decide not to divide some property.
- Decide not to divide the family property at all.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.