Does Canada Recognize Foreign Divorces?

Foreign Divorces

There is always an increased flow of people between countries every year. In this context, family law becomes a significant issue for any family shifting from one state to the other. This creates a lot of challenges for those involved. One of the major concerns is marriage and divorce. If you have been divorced in a foreign jurisdiction and want to move to Toronto and remarry, some factors must be considered before this happens. The best thing is that you have the right to contact a divorce lawyer in Toronto to help you go through the process with ease.

In Which Situation Does Canadian Court Recognize A Foreign Divorce

Whether or not your foreign divorce will be recognized in Canada depends on the facts of each unique situation, decisions under the case law or the statute law. You could not get a marriage certificate if your previous marriage was dissolved outside Canada until you obtain written authorization from the marriage office. To get this, you must liaise with an experienced family lawyer to help you get an opinion letter explaining why your divorce should be recognized. The foreign divorce will be valid in Canada if:

  • There is a “real and substantial” connection from a jurisdiction that was authorized to grant a divorce.
  • Either spouse was an ordinary resident in that country for at least a year before the start of the divorce proceedings.

To get the authorization, you need the below documents:

  • A marriage license application signed by both spouses. This letter is valid for 90 days, so it would be better to apply for the license within the 90 days of the authorization letter.
  • A signed Statement of Sole Responsibility signed by both parties
  • An original copy of divorce certifies by the court officer
  • And finally, a legal or rather the foreign divorce opinion letter from a licensed lawyer with the reason why your divorce should be recognized.

On Which Grounds Can The Court Refuse To Recognize A Foreign Divorce?

You cannot just get to Canada and request to get a divorce. There are certain situations where the court may refuse.

They include:

  • Where there was no notice of the divorce proceedings
  • Where the judgment was contrary to public policy, public policy means that the act should not breach the law, such as to interfere with the public interests.
  • The foreign divorce should not contradict with the Canadian public policy.
  • Where there was a fraud
  • In situations where the court had no proper jurisdiction
  • Contravention of natural justice principles

Help From A Divorce Lawyer

If you want to get married again in Toronto, you have to provide certain documents and prove that you’re no longer married. Your foreign divorce will not be effective until the Canadian court recognizes it. Thus it’s better to seek legal help to understand your rights before applying for foreign divorce recognition. If you have any questions concerning your matrimonial matters, you can contact an experienced lawyer and book a free consultation. The lawyer will review your foreign divorce documents and give an opinion as to whether your divorce was granted in accordance with the laws in Canada.


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