Most Quebecers oppose alimony for the unwed
Most Quebecers believe the poorer partner in a common-law couple should not be entitled to financial support from the wealthier partner should the couple split up, a new Leger Marketing poll shows.
A decision rendered by Quebec's Court of Appeal on Nov. 3 opened the door for those in common-law relationships to collect alimony.
All provinces and territories in Canada except Quebec have provisions for the wealthier partner in a common-law relationship to provide alimony to the less well-off partner should the relationship end. But in Quebec, while a parent is obliged to provide child support, there is no obligation to support the poorer partner.
The case dealt with an unmarried couple -referred to as "Eric and Lola" in the judgment because Quebec law protects the identity of people involved in family court cases -who split up after living together for seven years and having three children together.
The panel of judges ruled that the provincial government should revamp the family law section of the Civil Code so that those in common-law relationships have the same rights to alimony after a breakup as do married couples.
But a survey of 1,001 Quebecers, published today by the Léger Marketing firm and commissioned by The Gazette, indicates that 56 per cent of Quebecers believe that if there is no marriage certificate, there should be no financial responsibilities after a breakup (except for child support). Thirtyfive per cent of respondents said unmarried couples should have a right to alimony, and nine per cent were undecided or refused to answer.
Among respondents who were married or living in common-law relationships, 54 per cent said there should be no alimony if an unmarried couple splits up.
Among respondents who were single, divorced, separated or widowed, 59 per cent said there should be no alimony if an unmarried couple splits up.
The survey was taken between Nov. 8 and Nov. 11.