Caution:  This page contains ONLY GENERAL LEGAL INFORMATION. 
It is NOT LEGAL ADVICE nor a replacement for talking to a lawyer
and getting legal advice about your case.    
The law can be complicated and the details of a case can be even more complicated! 
There are exceptions for every rule. 

 

What you do not know can harm you.  Do not rely on general legal information.

AT YOUR OWN RISK.

RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN DIVORCE

What Do You Need in Order to Remarry, If You were Divorced Outside Canada?
If you want to marry in Ontario, but were divorced outside Canada, you will need an letter from an Ontario lawyer that provides a legal opinion that the foreign divorce would be recognize under the law in Ontario.

You may need this letter to show you are no longer married for other purposes.

See also the discussion of previous marriages in the article about Divorce.

 

(If children are at issue, you may have to have the courts recognize the foreign orders regarding parenting arrangements or you may need to get a fresh Ontario order regarding the children.  Consult a lawyer!)

What Documents Are Required?
You will need to provide the lawyer with the following:

  • a copy of the Divorce Certificate (or similar document showing the divorce is final)

  • a copy of the Application for Divorce ( or similar document in which the divorce was requested)

  • trustworthy translations of these documents if not in English or French (depending on what languages the lawyer reads)

Will the Authority of the Foreign Court Be Recognized?
There are rules to prevent someone from visiting a foreign jurisdiction and obtaining a quick divorce, that avoids the public policy goals that went into Canadian divorces.

 

For the divorce to be recognized,

  • one of the parties must have resided in that jurisdiction for at least twelve (12) months before applying for the divorce; or

  • within certain exceptions, one of the parties must have a "substantial connection" to that jurisdiction.

 

Being a citizen of that other jurisdiction or having been married there is not sufficient on its own.

The foreign decision must have complied with the rules of "natural justice".  For example, the person being divorce must have a right to notice of the application for divorce.

 

Do you Need A Lawyer?
Yes.  You need a written legal opinion from an Ontario lawyer.