Monthly Archives: June 2014

Opinion Letter on Foreign Divorce Decree

Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decrees

Many times I am asked to provide opinion upon the foreign divorce in Ontario, so that the person requesting it can re- marry here.

The federal Divorce Act of 1985 governs the recognition of foreign divorces and provides for the recognition of foreign divorces in the jurisdiction where the divorce was granted.

Foreign divorces are valid in Canada if:

1.       Either spouse was ordinarily resident in the foreign jurisdiction for one year immediately preceding the application for the divorce.

2.       The divorce is issued from a court in a country where neither spouse was ordinarily resident, but where the decree is recognized by the law of that country where one or both were ordinarily resident at the time of the divorce.

3.       If the parties were not ordinarily resident in the country where the divorce was granted, then either party can show that they had a “real and substantial connection” with the foreign jurisdiction at the time of the divorce. Factors that might indicate whether there was a real and substantial connection would be whether an individual was born in that country, had family there, and regularly travelled there to spend time with friends and family, owns real property and  conducts business and in the jurisdiction.

All these factors are relevant and establish that the court in that other country had the proper jurisdiction to hear the divorce when neither of the parties was ordinarily residing there for a year preceding the divorce action and has granted divorce in that country, it is valid in Canada.

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