The Quebec woman known as "Lola" has won a partial victory in her constitutional challenge to get unmarried couples treated the same as married couples when their relationships end.
On Wednesday, Quebec's Court of Appeal invalidated a section of the province's civil code which guarantees support payments only in cases involving people who are married or in civil unions.
It's given the province one year to fix the law.
Lola, who can't be named to protect the identity of her children, had been seeking a $50-million lump-sum payment from her former spouse, a well-known Quebec business tycoon, and $56,000 a month in alimony.
Lola was 17 when she met the then 32-year-old entrepreneur with whom she spent 10 years. They had three children together but never married.
In July 2009, Quebec Superior Court Justice Carole Hallée rejected her claims against her former spouse saying under existing law, partners in a common-law relationship have no rights, no duties and no responsibilities to each other — no matter how many years they've lived together.
Lola appealed and won.
The judge said the law does, in fact, protect the rights of unmarried people who choose a common-law relationship.
The Court of Appeal has not ruled on Lola's damages, preferring instead to send the matter back to Quebec Superior Court for a decision on how much "Eric" owes her.
About 1.2 million people in Quebec live together instead of marrying. An estimated 60 per cent of Quebec children are now born outside marriage unions.