Cohabitation: an alternative or substitute for marriage?
Price: $20 (free for parliamentarians and media)
Over the past 30 years, cohabitation has grown steadily. First as an entry point into conjugal life, then when forming a a new union after a failed marriage, and finally as a framework in which to have and raise children. Can we conclude that cohabitation has become identical to marriage, particularly in Quebec where it has reached a record high? Is commitment equally strong in both forms of union? Is daily life organized and managed in the same way? If so, should both forms of union be subject to the same obligations and generate the same rights?
To answer these questions, Céline Le Bourdais, professor at McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Social Statistics and Family Change and academic director of the McGill QICSS Branch, examines the significance of common law partnerships through the lens of the stability of unions and management of their shared finances. These dimensions of couples’ lives become particularly important when separation occurs and questions of division of assets and continued support arise. The legislative response to the changing nature of Canadian partnerships is far from being settled, as seen in Quebec’s approach in the highly publicized case Eric v. Lola, and the approach adopted by British Columbia in the Family Law Act.