In my last entry, I talked about Family Patrimony and the default matrimonial regime in Quebec, Partnership of Acquests. If you missed that one, check it out. In this post, I’ll take you through the other matrimonial regime – Separation as to property.

In today’s “Do It Together” segment: how a Separation as to property matrimonial regime can help you protect your assets.

The non-default regime in Quebec is known as Separation as to Property.

This is where the couple has a notarized marriage contract or agreement, more commonly known as a prenuptial agreement. Under the Separation as to Property regime, each spouse remains the exclusive owner of their property, administers the property alone and assumes responsibility for their debts subject to the family patrimony rules.

So why would you consider marrying under Separation as to Property? Well, if there is a vast difference in wealth between the partners, such a regime can ensure that any inheritance or assets remain outside of the family patrimony and remains unsplittable. It also protects any children in the relationship so they will receive your assets, particularly in the case of second marriages. In other words, you can make sure the people of your choice get the right assets.

And you don’t need to have one at the beginning of the regime. You and your partner can change the regime before or during the marriage, through a notarized marriage contract. For example, two people married under the regime of partnership of acquests can sign a marriage contract during their marriage to change their regime to separation as to property. In this case, any property acquired between the date of the marriage and the date the regime was changed is partitioned (as it would be in the case of a divorce).

Default regimes tend to happen with first marriages or civil unions, and separation as to property regimes obviously tend to occur with second marriages or unions when both parties usually have more assets. Take the time to discuss and decide which regime is right for you. I know it’s not romantic but it can save a lot of heartache much later.