Law to better protect
Find out more about the changes that will have a direct impact on the lives of thousands of vulnerable people and their loved ones.
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As legal tutors, you have to be guided by the general principles and fulfil the obligations set out on the page about the overall responsibilities of a tutor. However, because you are parents, you are subject to specific rules that distinguish you from a dative or suppletive tutor.
Care should be taken to keep administration of the child’s property separate from administration of the parents’ property. For example, it is important to have separate bank accounts.
The Civil Code of Québec recognizes your parental authority, which is quite separate from legal tutorship. While this authority gives you the right to make decisions concerning your child, it also gives you certain responsibilities. You must protect, care for, supervise and educate your child, while nurturing their development. These responsibilities are known as obligations of support and maintenance. You must fulfil them using your own assets and based on your standard of living.
The fact that your child has their own property or income does not relieve you of the obligation to look after the child with your own money and meet the child’s essential needs, if you can afford to do so. In addition, you are not allowed to purchase or use the child’s assets for your own or your family’s benefit.
Are you not sure if you are allowed to incur certain expenditures?Talk to your tutorship council about this. If they are in any doubt, they will ask the Curateur public.
Maybe you are short of money and unable to fulfil your obligation of support? In that case, the child may have to pay some of their own expenses. Ultimately your decision should be dictated by the overriding interests of the child and your financial situation.
In addition, you must be able to show that amounts taken from the child’s assets were used to assure the child’s well-being. For this reason, it is most important to keep all supporting documents (receipts and invoices) until your administration ends. You may be asked for them by the Curateur public when it verifies your annual report, or by someone else (e.g. the tutorship council, or the child when they attain majority).
If you are in a difficult financial situation and cannot afford to meet your own essential needs, your child may be called upon to contribute if they have substantial capital. Under the Civil Code (article 585) , the support obligation between parents and children works both ways. But it is up to the court to decide and set the amount that the child should give you.
The courts usually set remuneration at an hourly rate, based on tasks already accomplished. In other words, they take into account the number of hours required to perform these tasks.
Legal tutorship is conducted free of charge. However, if administering the child’s property proves such a time-consuming task that it becomes your main occupation (e.g. managing real estate, operating a business), you could receive remuneration. You should first obtain the opinion of the tutorship council. The court will then set the terms of the payment to be made from the child’s capital.
Maybe the other parent is no longer able to play their role? Please see the Parents or a legal tutor page.
Are you afraid that one day you or the other parent may die or that you may become mentally incapacitated before your child reaches adulthood? You may plan ahead for such a situation by designating one or more tutors. For more information, see Designation of dative tutor by parents.