High court says Quebec does not have to recognize common-law couples

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - By a slim majority, Supreme Court of Canada says Quebec does not have to give common-law spouses the same rights as married couples.

The complex, detailed ruling means the financial aspects of the province's family law regime are constitutional and do not have to be changed.

Despite the fact that one-third of all Quebec couples are unmarried, it remains the only province that does not recognize common-law unions

The case involves a woman and her former lover, a prominent Quebec businessman who contends he should not have to pay alimony because they were never legally married.

It's widely known as the Eric and Lola case, because the pair can't be identified under a provincial family law that protects the identity of their three children

Common-law couples have varying rights depending on where they live in Canada, with some provinces giving them alimony and property rights.