Contract Between Common-Law Partners

Whether you have been in a relationship for many years or are just starting to build your life together, it is essential to understand the importance of a written agreement between common-law couples in Quebec.

Why draw up a contract between common-law partners?

The rights and obligations of each person are not the same for common-law partners as for married or civil union couples. In the event of separation of common-law partners, the division of property acquired during the relationship can give rise to disputes and disagreements.

This is where the contract between common-law partners comes into play: for the protection of your children, your rights and your property in the event of separation.


Samir and Nicole bought a house together and made several improvements over the years. Unfortunately, following their separation, they find themselves at odds over ownership of the house.

No written agreement was established to define how their financial contributions to the purchase and improvements of the house were to be taken into account. This creates uncertainty over each person's share of ownership, making house division complicated and subject to legal tensions.

What is a contract between common-law partners?

A contract between common-law partners is a legal agreement established between two people living together in a de facto union. It clarifies the rights and responsibilities of each party with regard to children, property acquired during the relationship and in the event of separation.

This document is unique to each situation and is tailor-made according to the couple's requests. It can be made or changed at any time.

Examples of points of agreement

  • The detailed list of property and debts that each partner owns.
  • The terms of sharing or separation of these assets in the event of separation.
  • The terms of repayment of these debts in the event of separation.
  • Arrangements regarding children or any family aspect in the event of separation.
  • The responsibilities and contributions of each party during life together.
  • Etc.

The careful drafting of the clauses ensures clear and fair protection for both parties.


Alex and Dominique bought a house together. In the event of separation, their contract clearly stipulates that Alex owns 60% of the property and Dominique, 40%, due to their unequal contributions to the initial purchase. The terms of redemption from the other in the event of a break-up are also clearly defined, thus simplifying the separation and avoiding disputes.

Writing a contract between common-law partners

Developing a contract requires particular attention to guarantee its legal validity and relevance in different situations.

Contact a notary or lawyer

We advise you to contact a notary or lawyer, who will be able to guide you in drafting the contract, taking into account your specific needs and the laws in force.

What cannot be included in the contract

A contract between common-law partners has limits within the meaning of the law. Here are some examples of clauses deemed invalid by the Court.

  • A donation if the document is not notarized;
  • A transfer of property in the event of the death of a partner (only a will can allow this);
  • A decision that would go against the best interests of the couple's children.

For these reasons, using the services of a lawyer or notary is strongly recommended to ensure the validity of the contract.

Thinking about what will happen in the event of a breakup when the relationship is going well is not always pleasant. However, a written agreement between common-law partners is much more than a simple formality. This is an essential step for the good of your children, the respect of your rights and the protection of your property.

To better inform yourself, consult the Éducaloi capsule on Written Agreements Between Common-Law Couples.