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Will my foreign divorce be recognized in Canada?
If you were divorced outside Canada, you need to prove that your divorce was legal in that country before you can get re-married in Canada.
According to Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) [PDF], your foreign divorce will generally be recognized by the Canadian government, if you or your spouse lived in the country where you got a divorce for at least 1 year before the start of the divorce proceedings.
If neither of you lived in the country for a year, your divorce may still be legal if the person who applied for the divorce can prove they have a “real and substantial connection” with the country. For example, if it is your country of origin and you returned there after the divorce, or you own property or spend a lot of time there.
If you got a divorce outside of Canada, you must get authorization from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services before you can get a marriage licence in Ontario.
To get the authorization, complete these forms:
- Marriage Licence Application [PDF];
- Statement of Sole Responsibility [PDF] for your divorce, signed by you and your new partner;
- An original or court-certified copy (certified by the proper court officer in the place the divorce or annulment was granted) of the divorce decree or annulment. If they are in a language other than English or French, you must include a translated copy and an affidavit sworn by a certified translator; and
- A legal opinion from a lawyer, giving reasons why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in the Province of Ontario. The Office of the Registrar General will fax a sample legal opinion letter to your lawyer if you call 1-800-461-2156.
Send the completed forms to:
The Office of the Registrar General
P.O. Box 4600
189 Red River Rd.
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6L8
For More Information
- Getting Remarried in Ontario After a Divorce - Information on how to get authorization to remarry in Ontario if you were divorced outside Canada. Links to all forms required are included. From the Government of Ontario.
- Divorce and Separation - This website has information about family law, the court system, children, and financial issues. From Ministry of the Attorney General.
- What You Should Know About Family Law in Ontario - This publication has information about the laws that may affect you if you separate. For example, the care and support of your children, support for you or your spouse (partner) and the division of your property. From Ministry of the Attorney General.
- Family Law - Clear language publications on family law and related topics. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
- All Women. One Family Law. - Information about family law in Ontario. Available in many languages. From Family Law Education for Women (FLEW).
January 7, 2016