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Whether your relationship is ending in divorce or legal separation, the needs of your children must be taken into consideration. Montreal family lawyers Me Schachter and Me Goldwater will protect your rights.

According to Quebec Law, spouses cannot renounce their rights in the family patrimony except by notarial act en minute or during the course of divorce proceedings, separation from bed and board or nullity of marriage.

Child custody and access rights

Typically, in a divorce or separation case, custody of the children will be assigned to one parent with access rights to the other. Occasionally, access may be granted to non-parents such as grandparents. In making a custody/access determination, the best interests of the child are always taken into account. This can include the relationship of the child with each of his or her parents; the moral and emotional welfare of the child; and the desire to preserve the status quo, where possible, so as not to disturb siblings’ living arrangements.

The right to access is protected under federal and provincial family law. A court can only deny access if it is found that continuing such a relationship would be harmful to the child’s well-being. This is a very rare occurrence and usually only happens in cases where the non-custodial parent has engaged in repeated harmful or destructive conduct. Frequently, disputes over custody/access are resolved by mediation or private settlements between the parties.


When a marriage or civil union comes to an end, it’s often the most emotional and financially challenging time in people’s lives. Our Montreal family law firm helps you sort out the complicated details and ensures that your best interests — and those of your children — are protected.

In Quebec, there are many different grounds for divorce. It’s important to understand the legal implications of each before filing.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in family and separation proceedings. They can advise you on the appropriate course of action depending on your situation and your desired outcome, including the preparation of a separation agreement or an order for divorce. They also have a thorough understanding of the law in this area and are well-versed in all applicable laws and precedents. Moreover, they have an in-depth knowledge of mediation and collaborative practice techniques. These methods of dispute resolution tend to result in more durable agreements and are generally faster and less costly than traditional litigation.

Separation as to bed and board

Unlike divorce, separation as to bed and board does not sever the bond of marriage. However, it does allow spouses to legally separate and settle issues such as alimony, child custody and access, and property division.

To satisfy the ground of constructive abandonment in separation as to bed and board, one party must demonstrate that the accused spouse has intentionally ceased cohabitation with the complaining spouse. This is usually accomplished by proving that the accused spouse has moved out of the marital residence and has not returned since.

A separation from bed and board also has significant legal effects, including but not limited to: 1) it establishes marital misconduct, which may serve as a foundation for an alimony claim; 2) it extinguishes the intestate and probate rights of the spouse found at fault in the estate of the non-fault spouse; 3) it has considerable impact on real property, particularly when tenancies by the entirety have been converted to tenancies in common; and 4) it can affect taxation if an IRA is involved.

Alimentary support

Parents who are no longer together must figure out how to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. Many do so by negotiating one-on-one with each other, with lawyers or through an alternative dispute resolution method.

When an adult offspring of divorced parents makes a request for alimentary support, the court may be required to establish a payment amount. The amounts established do not fall within the general education and maintenance obligation incumbent on parents exercising parental authority with respect to a minor child, but rather in that related to the basic subsistence obligation.

A decision granting alimentary support made in another Canadian province or in an American state that has concluded an agreement with the Province of Quebec allowing for its recognition and enforcement (as described in a later section on this website) will be recognized and enforced here. However, a family lawyer will be required to make a specific assessment of the situation.

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