While in the past many people in Quebec took separation proceedings, it is now quite infrequent, generally a divorce proceedings are chosen.


Some people think that by obtaining a legal separation after a year they will automatically be divorced. This is not true. A legal separation can be requested by either one or both spouses. For a legal separation to be granted the will to live together must be undermined to the extent that further living together would be intolerable. A legal separation can be granted if at the time of the application the spouses are living apart or where one spouse has failed to perform an obligation resulting from the marriage according to the law.


The spouses can ask the Court to have the family patrimony partitioned and have their matrimonial regime liquidated. Issues such as who will remain in the family residence, child custody and access rights, child support, spousal support can be determined in a separation.


As a result of a legal separation, spouses are no longer obliged to live together, however it does not break the bonds of marriage. For instance, it would not prevent a spouse from inheriting property in the event that the other spouse were to die without a will.


The articles of the Civil Code which explain what is required to obtain a separation are articles 493 to 515. The Civil Code can be accessed online via the Minister of Justice Quebec at :