Celebration of civil union

Ceremony that enforces the rights and obligations of spouses.

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The celebration of a civil union consists of a short ceremony in a solemn location, in which the officiating notary receives the consent of the partners and, as a public officer, declares them united to each other.


Persons who wish to enter into a civil union must satisfy the following conditions, among others:

  • The partners can be of different or the same sex;
  • They must not be close relatives (father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter);
  • They must not be married or in a previous civil union;
  • They must publicly give their consent before a person designated by law, including a notary, and in the presence of two witnesses;
  • They must obtain the signature of a witness on the marriage publication document and display this document 20 days before the planned date of the union celebration;
  • At the time of the celebration, the partners, the officiant, and the witnesses must sign a declaration of civil union. This is then transmitted to the Director of Civil Status who draws up the act of civil union;
  • The law does not require that the prospective partners be residents of Quebec to enter into a civil union.

Civil union or marriage:

Prospective partners who have been previously married or civilly united and do not plan to have children together should consider a civil union rather than marriage as the legal framework for their union.

A civil union creates the same rights and obligations between partners as marriage. Partners in a civil union are required to live together, there is a creation of a family patrimony, if the civilly united partners die without a will, the proportions provided for in the Civil Code of Quebec automatically apply to them, etc.

The advantage of a civil union for partners wishing to enter into a second or third marriage and who do not intend to have children together lies in the mechanism to end the civil union in case of disagreement.

In fact, a civil union, when there is no common child, does not necessarily end in divorce. It can be terminated by a joint declaration of dissolution of the civil union. This declaration must be received by a notary. In this case, the two partners wishing to end their civil union must first settle all the consequences of dissolution, including the division of the family patrimony, matrimonial regime, alimony payments, etc., by notarial deed.

The Director of Civil Status, the RDPRM, and the notary who received the civil union contract must be notified of the joint declaration of dissolution.

Another advantage of a civil union is that, unlike divorce, it is not necessary to have ceased living together for more than a year or to mention adultery or mental cruelty to obtain the dissolution of the civil union. The joint declaration of dissolution is a contract that can be made as soon as the two partners decide to end their union and reach an agreement on the division of their joint property.

First meeting with the notary:

The notary verifies the identity and marital status of the prospective partners. They verify if there are blood relations between them and if they are free from any prior marital bond. The notary also informs the prospective partners of the usefulness of undergoing a medical examination before joining in union.

At the time of the meeting, the prospective partners must bring their birth certificate. For individuals born in Quebec, a copy of the birth certificate or the birth certificate issued by the Director of Civil Status and the extract or certificate of baptism issued by the church or the certificate of registration issued by a municipality before January 1, 1994, is required. If the prospective partners are unable to produce a birth certificate, they may provide a sworn statement, a passport and a photo ID, a Canadian citizenship card, and immigration documents.

Divorced individuals must also provide a divorce certificate or a certified true copy of the divorce decree, signed by an authorized officer. Those who have obtained an annulment of marriage must provide a certified copy of the judgment annulling their marriage.

Widowed individuals must also provide a death certificate of their late spouse in the form of a copy of the birth certificate, certificate, or attestation. Proof of death can also be confirmed by a civil status card, a letter issued by a consulate, a sworn statement, etc.

Running of the ceremony:

The officiating notary first welcomes the prospective partners, their respective witnesses, and the guests. The notary briefly explains the purpose of their gathering and the running of the ceremony.

They then proceed to read the articles of the Civil Code of Quebec that define the relationship between partners and the obligations created by the civil union.

They then solicit the exchange of consent between the partners and, following this exchange of consent, declare the partners united by the bonds of the civil union.

The partners and the witnesses then sign the declaration of civil union, which will be sent to the Director of Civil Status of Quebec.

The location of the civil union can be the notary's office. It can also be any other location that corresponds to the dignity that must surround the celebration of such a union.

According to the wishes of the prospective partners, the celebration of the civil union can be limited to the steps we have just presented. However, there is nothing preventing the ceremony from being "personalized" by the prospective partners. They can choose readings, musical pieces, a short intervention by a loved one, an exchange of rings to fit their own vision of this important moment in their lives. Those who wish to add such elements to the celebration of their union are invited to discuss with the officiating notary to integrate legal requirements and personal expectations as harmoniously as possible.

Required documents

* The original copy of your birth certificate. If you were born in Quebec, the document must be issued by the Director of Civil Status.

* An official piece of identification with a photo and an unexpired signature:
              - driver's license;
              - health insurance card;
              - passport.

* If applicable:
              - final divorce judgment;
              - the original death certificate of a previous spouse.

If you need more information on this service, please contact us
514 374-4303
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