The Property owned by one or the other spouses that does not form part of the Family Patrimony forms instead part of their matrimonial regime.
In Quebec, the legal matrimonial regime is called the Partnership of Acquests. In other words, if spouses are married without a marriage contract, they are automatically subject to the matrimonial regime of Partnership of Acquests.
There are two (2) types of property that spouses own under the Partnership of Acquests, namely: private property and acquests.
In virtue of Article 449 of the Civil Code of Quebec, the acquests of each spouse include all property not declared to be private property by law, and, in particular:
a) the proceeds of that spouse’s work during the regime;
b) the fruits and income due or collected from all that spouse’s private property or
acquests during the regime.
In virtue of Article 450 of the Civil Code of Quebec, the private property of each spouse consists of the following:
a) property owned or possessed by that spouse when the regime comes into effect;
b) property which devolves to that spouse during the regime by succession or gift, and the fruits and income derived from it if the testator or donor has so provided;
c) property acquired by that spouse to replace private property and any insurance indemnity relating thereto;
d) the rights or benefits devolved to that spouse as a subrogated holder or as a specified beneficiary under a contract or plan of retirement, other annuity or insurance of persons
e) that spouse’s clothing and personal papers, wedding ring, decorations and diplomas;
f) the instruments required for that spouse’s occupation, saving compensation where applicable.
When spouses are married under the matrimonial regime of Partnership of Acquests, each spouse is entitled to 50% of the value of the other spouses’ acquests held at the time of separation or institution of divorce proceedings, depending on the facts of the case. Conversely, each spouse retains ownership of their own private property when the regime is dissolved.
There is sometimes considerable nuance in calculating the value of each spouse’s private property and acquests, particularly when a spouse has a complex financial structure.
Spouses can by way of marriage contract, executed before a notary, contract out of the Partnership of Acquest and adopt another matrimonial regime, such as Separation as to Property.