Divorce sadly occurs to many couples throughout the world. While it is an emotional roller coaster, recovery does happen, and many individuals eventually remarry.
When remarrying in Canada, especially in Ontario, following a divorce in another country, there are regulations and paperwork that must be followed to the letter.
A chief component of the paperwork needed is the Canadian Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter.
What exactly is a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter?
This is a document that the Canadian Government requires that verifies that the individual seeking remarriage is indeed legally divorced. This is a “fail-safe” method used to ensure that some non-legal divorces did not occur.
There are parts of the world, and even some parts of the USA, where what are termed “quickie” divorces are available but these can be not recognized by the places where these occurred, or by the Canadian Government.
Which types of divorces might not be recognized?
1. Common law marriages
In the USA common law marriage is only recognized in some states with the average period of communal living being 5 to 7 years.
This also occurs in other countries. Living as a husband and wife, after a certain period leads to the couple being recognized as having a valid marriage.
Some underdeveloped countries simply have a tribal priest or other elder declare a couple married, which is a form of common law.
The common law marriage recognition usually is only valid in a few states in the USA, and a few regions throughout the world.
Even moving from one state in the USA that recognizes this type of divorce to another invalidates the marriage and of course, the divorce and can invalidate a divorce in the eyes of the Canadian Government, especially in some provinces such as Ontario.
2. Plural marriage
This is the marriage of one man to more than one woman and although not extremely regulated in the USA, it does exist, especially in one state.
It can also exist in other countries, such as Nigeria. However, these are not marriages under any governmental auspices in the USA but can occur outside the USA with approval by the governments.
In the USA some plural marriages can legally marry one wife only, but then divorce the legally married wife and legally marry another wife.
Under the Charter, Canada, like the USA can be accepting of plural marriages, even if not legal, and consider them both plural and common law simultaneously.
There is the notion in developed countries that plural marriage can only exist in certain parts of each developed country.
However, the plurality mindset can be part of an enclave-type existence of beliefs and exist in many areas.
Religious aspects also come into play, such as individuals belonging to Mormon or Muslim religious sects. Immigration to a country such as Canada for another marriage would need scrutiny in these instances.
A Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter needs an attorney
As shown above, there are many aspects to proving a legal divorce in Canada to remarry. Paralegals, or producing documents on one’s own are not acceptable to the Canadian Government because of the intricacies involved.
Canada always focuses on well-being and population diversity within its borders. With that said, the ability to remarry legally is a priority.
Fees and timeframes for proving a legal divorce can fluctuate wildly, so an attorney well-versed in Foreign Divorce Opinion Letters and the laws of divorce which involve immigration is needed.
Federal and Provincial Governments both rule
The provinces and territories within Canada have a say in what constitutes a legal marriage and therefore a legal divorce when marriage occurs outside Canada. This is explicitly stated on the Canadian Government website.
Ontario, in particular, does require a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter, as well as many other types of documentation and paperwork that must be submitted.
Everything from the paperwork to request a marriage, to proving that a divorce legally occurred must be in order.
Time constraints might also exist as residency in another country where the divorce occurred must be proven, although some divorces can be legally proven by simply owning property in another country.
The general length of time is about a year or more of either residing in another country or owning property in one during which the divorce occurred.
Conclusion – Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter
No matter what the circumstances, when seeking to prove a legal divorce to the Canadian Government, especially in provinces like Ontario, a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter is a necessity.
It should never be done without advice and filing by an attorney as it will not be accepted by the government.
The timeframes for obtaining a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter do fluctuate depending upon circumstances, current and past residencies, and if both parties reside in Canada or if one party resides elsewhere.
Fast and quick legal counsel will ensure that timely deadlines for filing the paperwork are done and that the fees can be kept low.
Before planning a remarriage with Canada, the particulars of the Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter need to be discussed with a qualified attorney ASAP.
To proceed without an attorney will mean rejection of the divorce decree, and lead to heartache, confusion, and money wasted on filing fees.
Life in Canada is beautiful and tranquil and the Canadian Government does seek to keep problems at bay.
In divorce and marital situations, the Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter is how this is accomplished. If a prior divorce occurred in another country, proceeding with the Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter needs to be done before proceeding “down the aisle” yet again.
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