Expertise / Family Compensatory Allowance

Depending on whether you are the one who wants to make a claim for compensatory allowance or, rather, the one who has been served with a claim for compensatory allowance, we are here to help you.

While many questions can be answered with the help of the guides, sample letters and forms in our legal toolkit, an independent jurist affiliated with PSP Legal will always be happy to help you by answering any questions you may have.

Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner take charge of your situation and intervene directly and quickly on your behalf, you can also request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal represent you by clicking here.


What is compensatory allowance?

The law provides for the possibility of granting a compensatory allowance to one of the spouses who, through his or her contribution of goods or services, has contributed to the enrichment of his or her spouse’s assets. This is another measure of fairness that can fill the gaps in economic distribution created by family assets and the matrimonial regime.

This measure applies only to spouses in a civil union. Common-law spouses are therefore not eligible to apply for a compensatory allowance. It should be noted, however, that they can claim sums as part of an unjust enrichment action. In addition, since compensatory allowance is an obligatory effect of marriage and civil union, the spouses cannot waive it in advance by any contract whatsoever. They may, however, waive it at the time of divorce, i.e. after the entitlement has arisen.


Purpose of compensatory allowance

The purpose of the compensatory allowance is to compensate one of the spouses. It does not change the marriage contract or the division of family assets. Rather, it is an additional amount over and above what has been divided that will be paid to the spouse claiming it. 

The request for compensatory allowance is generally accompanied by a request for divorce or annulment of the marriage. If the marriage is null and void, only the spouse acting in good faith can claim compensatory allowance. In the event of dissolution following the death of one of the spouses, only the surviving spouse will be able to claim a compensatory allowance from the deceased spouse’s estate. In other words, the heirs of the deceased cannot claim compensatory allowance from the surviving spouse.


Criteria for awarding compensatory allowance

There are six conditions that will be examined by the court to determine whether a compensatory allowance will be awarded.


1- A spouse’s contribution in goods or services

The request for a compensatory allowance concerns an asset that is not part of the family patrimony, or an asset that belongs to one of the spouses. It may also be for a service to one of the spouses’ assets or business. For example, an asset could be a significant contribution to the downpayment on the purchase of a house that is in the name of only one spouse. For a service, it could be work performed free of charge by one spouse in his or her spouse’s business, or major renovations to a property that is not part of the family patrimony and belongs to only one spouse.

The contributIon cannot simply be the performance of family tasks, since in principle both must share this burden equally. The contribution of goods or services must be exceptional.


2- Enrichment

There must have been a positive enrichment of one of the spouses that is easily identifiable. This may be in the form of money, movable property, real estate or even avoided expenses. The enrichment must have existed during the marriage, as well as at the date of institution of proceedings or the end of the marriage.


3- A causal link

There must be a causal link between the service or property contributed and the enrichment of the other spouse.


4- Proportion in which the contribution enabled the enrichment

The amount taken into account when awarding a compensatory allowance is that of the value of the enrichment procured and not that of the value of the contribution made.


5- Concurrent impoverishment of the contributor

The person who made the contribution of goods or services must have been impoverished at the same time as the contribution.


6- Lack of justification

The court assesses whether there is a cause for the enrichment. Consequently, if there is a legislative provision that justifies this enrichment, it will not be able to award a compensatory allowance.


How we can help

Our legal toolkit includes a variety of online resources and links to templates and guides to help you better understand your obligations.

However, should the Legal Toolkit prove insufficient in your situation, you can obtain additional assistance by speaking with one of PSP Legal’s affiliated jurists:

Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner handle your situation, you can always request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal intervene on your behalf by clicking here. He or she will then be able to intervene directly and rapidly on your behalf by:

  • Preparing, negotiating and drafting applications, procedures or any other legal documents related to your situation;
  • Assisting and advising you on your legal rights and obligations;
  • Representing you before the courts when legal action is taken;
  • Guiding you through the choices available to you, leading to a fair and satisfactory solution.


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