De facto separation

A de facto separation generally occurs when two spouses agree to cease living together, or when one of the spouses leaves the family home.

A separation agreement that leaves some details unresolved

Each spouse must be willing to comply with the terms of their agreement to separate. As a result, it is important to know that, even if you have been separated for several years: 

  • You remain married or in a civil partnership in the eyes of the law;
  • You are still subject to the rights and obligations resulting from the marriage or civil union;
  • One spouse may apply to the courts to obtain support from the other spouse if unable to meet his or her own needs;
  • You remain solidarily liable for any debts you have incurred, either separately or with your spouse, for the benefit of the family;
  • You have no legal way to enforce the agreement if your spouse fails to comply with it;
  • You are bound by the agreement until your marriage or civil union is legally dissolved.

End of the de facto separation

The de facto separation ends when: 

  • the spouses voluntarily start to live together again;
  • their divorce is granted.

Last update: April 6, 2023


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