Dissolution of a civil union

To make your marriage valid, you and your intended spouse must meet certain conditions. 

The conditions concern:

  • your age;
  • the family relationship between you;
  • your matrimonial status;
  • the giving of consent.

You are also required to be present at the ceremony.

General notice

Regulation to amend the Regulation of the Superior Court of Québec in family matters

The parties in a family law case must attest to whether or not they are subject to:

  • A civil protection order under section 509 of the Code of Civil Procedure or a request related to such an order;
  • An order, application, agreement or decision related to youth protection;
  • An order, indictment, undertaking or recognizance related to a criminal matter.

Parties who fall into any of the above situations must file a notice with the court office and, if applicable, attach documentary evidence. The same applies if the situation changes in the course of proceedings.

Joint notarial declaration

A civil union can be dissolved by a joint declaration made before a notary, on two conditions:

  • The spouses have settled all the consequences of their separation in an agreement;
  • The interests of any children the two spouses have had together are not at stake; in this case, dissolution can only be granted by a court.

The declaration and agreement must be recorded in a notarial document. They have the same effect as a judgment granting the dissolution of a civil union from the date on which they are signed before the notary.

Dissolution of a civil union granted by the court

If it is not possible to dissolve a civil union by way of a joint notarial declaration, the dissolution must be granted by the court. 

This is not the same judicial process as a divorce, and it is best to consult a lawyer.

Important: If a couple in a civil union decide to marry, they do not need to dissolve their civil union first. Their marriage will automatically dissolve their civil union while maintaining their rights and obligations under the civil union.

Gifts at a dissolution of a civil union

It is important to note that the dissolution of a civil union does not cancel gifts made to the spouses in consideration of their civil union. Gifts made between living persons (inter vivos) or in the event of death, as set out in the civil union contract, may be annulled, amended or maintained by the judge.

Obtaining a court judgment of dissolution of a civil union

Spouses who wish to obtain a judgment of dissolution of a civil union must apply to the Superior Court in the judicial district where the spouses have their joint residence or, if the couple no longer live together, in the district in which one of the spouses lives.

If the two spouses agree on the terms of their separation, they may file a joint application for the dissolution of their civil union with the court.

Last update: April 6, 2023


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