I think, therefore I harm
On January 25th, in the cause which became known as Lola vs. Eric, the Supreme Court of Canada, the higher instance of the country, rejected the demand of Lola to consider unmarried couples as married. Well, the demand wasn’t exactly formulated like that, but for the mortals that we are, it was the same.
Eric and Lola lived together for several years and had three children, though they never married. When they broke up, she went with the children and received child support from her ex. But she soon realized she wasn’t allowed a spousal support, neither could she bring with her part of what her ex owned, as would be stated by the law if they were married.
Let’s get deeper in this particular case, though those details are not necessary in the context of this post. Eric and Lola are fictitious names, used to protect the identity of the children. Let’s just say that Eric isn’t exactly a low-pay worker. He already gives her $30,000/month for child support. Also, as stated by a ruling in a lower instance case, he gave her a $2.5M house and a car. Let’s not mention he also must provide her ex with a chauffeur, a cook and two nannies. But poor Lola couldn’t adapt to a lower level of life to what she was used to, so she wants a spousal support too, an additional $30,000/month, because the children are about to reach 18 years old and the child support for them will then come to an end.
It’s nice that Lola had been in couple with a millionnaire, but the couple is no more and she should learn to take care of herself. A major chain of convenience stores is currently looking for clerks, perhaps she could apply for the job. But let her learn about life by herself and let’s return to our case.
We, in Québec, have one of the lowest level of marriage. It is estimated that just over 30% of the couples live unmarried, a number much higher than for the rest of Canada and, in fact, than most places in the world. To adapt to this fact, we have laws which give unmarried couples pretty much the same rights as the married couples. As an example we can, at our option, fill tax reports as couples and rip the benefits. But we do not get any of the legal responsibilities and liabilities which married couples do, such a patrimonial share and spousal support. However, there exists an option. If you decide not to marry, but you wish to assume responsibilities and liabilities of married couples, you could sign a contract which states exactly what each other will give to the other if a break up was to happen. You could also write down your will, should any of the two died unexpectedly.
What Lola was asking to the Supreme Court was that unmarried couples would get the same responsibilities and liabilities as married couples. The judges in the case voted 5 to 4 in favor of Eric, stating that they didn’t want to force the 500,000 Quebecers which live as unmarried couples into the responsibilities and liabilities of married couples. We were one vote away from getting married without ever signing anything. Many people said, jokingly (or perhaps not), that they had their partner’s luggages ready by the door, in case the decision would turn out wrong.
For her defense, poor Lola isn’t a natural Canadian and didn’t know of the law. I don’t think she was broke, she could have checked with a lawyer. For my own defense, I am aware of the law and voluntarily never married. Nor signed anything. Can I keep that right?
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