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Marriage Outside Canada and its Impact on Divorce

  • Zeina El Sayed
  • Divorce
  • February 28, 2019
  • (0)

With an experience of 10 years helping hundreds of people with their divorce filing, I constantly come across common queries related to the impact of marriage outside Canada on the divorce filing. Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that will help you better understand how a marriage outside Canada could impact your divorce.

  1. Does it matter where I was married?

    A lot of people wonder whether they have to get divorced in the same city or country where they were married and the answer is - No, they do not have to. You can get divorced in Alberta, as long as you have been living in the province for at least 1 year prior to filing for divorce. That’s the only residential requirement for obtaining a divorce in Alberta.
  1. If I get divorced outside Canada, do I need to prove my divorce here?

    If you have been divorced outside Canada and your divorce is valid, you do not need to register it here. In fact, many people unknowingly go to the courthouse to “register” their divorce, only to find out that that’s neither required nor a common practice.
    If  you plan to get remarried in Canada or you simply need to prove your marital status, you can provide a copy of your existing divorce certificate from the country that issued it. Like any other official document; if it is not in English, it’s a good idea to translated.
  1. How do I prove my Canadian divorce in my home country?

    Each country has its specific requirements for proving divorce, except for the Philippines and Vatican City, where divorce is illegal. But for countries that do, you can find out from the embassy for that country how you can prove your divorce there. In many cases, you need to authenticate your divorce certificate through the Authentication Office in Edmonton before you send it to your designated country.
    Link: https://www.alberta.ca/document-authentication-other-jurisdictions-countries.aspx

    For CommonWealth countries, such as the UK, US, and India, divorce certificate that has been issued by the divorce section is sufficient, and there normally is no need to authenticate it further. It’s always best to check the requirements of the specific country before the document leaves Canada.
  1. I want to marry someone from my home country and I don’t want to wait until I am divorced. What happens in this case?

    When I used to work at the Calgary Court Center, I, along with my fellow colleagues, had so many situations where the person at the counter is rushing in to get his final divorce certificate so he is able to re-marry that same weekend! So often, those people discover the horrific news that their ex-spouse who said would take care of the divorce filing, did not, and legally they are still married to that person. This means, the new marriage is not happening that weekend! I saw so many people utterly speechless after finding that out; in fact on one occasion, a mid-aged lady fainted after learning that the person she believed to have been divorced from decades ago, is still legally her husband. My point is: Never plan a marriage unless you have your divorce document in your hand.

One hurdle to filing your divorce documents quickly in court is if you do not have your original civil marriage certificate.

  1. What do I do if I cannot find my marriage certificate to file for divorce?

    If you were married in Canada, the court requires your original marriage certificate to be submitted along with your divorce documents. If you do not have a copy of your marriage certificate, you can order a new one through the Alberta Registry, or its equivalent in other Provinces.
  2. Do I get my marriage certificate back from Court?

    This is sometimes difficult for people, especially those who were in a long term marriage. The marriage certificate is usually the last memory from a relationship; that even though is ending, was a big part of a person’s life and identity. The thing is, if you are getting divorced, you would not be married; therefore, once your divorce is filed in court, your marriage certificate is filed with it, and yes, you lose your marriage certificate and it stays on your divorce file forever. Once your divorce is final, you receive a divorce certificate which marks your status as a non-married person.

 For more information or if you are looking for real, affordable divorce solutions in Alberta, get in touch with us, we love to spread the knowledge, so you are able to make better decisions.

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