Many of us have heard about the now infamous case of Lola vs. Eric. Many have also discussed it with their friends and families. Unfortunately, not everyone has a clear understanding of what occurred in this landmark case.

Let’s briefly review the facts of the case known to the general public. Lola and Eric were not married but cohabited together for a period of approximately 7 years. During this 7 year period they had 3 children. Lola alleged in court that she often asked Eric that they get married. On the other hand, Eric alleged that he was very clear about his feelings toward marriage and that it was not an option for him.

Like many people that cohabitate in Quebec, Lola presumed that since she had lived with Eric for a certain period of time, she was entitled to the same rights as those of a married couple and that in the event of a separation, she would have her share of the patrimony acquired during her cohabitation with Eric.

Lola discovered that being an unmarried couple, she had no rights to the property or wealth that belonged to Eric. As for many unmarried couples, the children are the main and sole pre-occupation in our legislation. The children have all the rights as those issued in marriage.

Arguments were made that this exclusion of unmarried couples from the legislation of the division of property acquired during the marriage was discriminatory towards women. However, this opinion was not retained, as today, many women are in the same financial position as men.

The importance is to ensure that all couples are aware of the fact that common law relationships do not exist in Quebec with regards to the consequences of the rupture of the relationship. It is an aspect that many continue to not grasp despite the ruling of the Supreme Court and the numerous televised discussions and magazine and newspaper articles.

There is no protection for the spouses in the event of a rupture and this, regardless of the time they cohabitated, the number of children or the reasons for their rupture and it is imperative for everyone to be aware of this.

Unmarried couples must turn to other avenues in order to attempt to recuperate any monies or other type of investments made during the cohabitation period.

It is important to take note that the latter is not a done deal and you should consult an attorney to discuss your situation in order to be properly advised. In some cases, couples are not entering into common law agreements which detail what shall occur in the event of a rupture of their relationship.

Our office is more than capable of meeting with you and discussing your situation and verifying what options are available to you in the event of a rupture of your relationship.

Ofelia Lamanna, Attorney
Azran & Associés Avocats Inc.

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