Get help with Multi-jurisdictional Divorces

Gets help with Multi-jurisdictional Divorces

In Canada, divorce is governed by the Divorce Act. The process of obtaining a divorce becomes more complex when spouses live in multiple jurisdictions. When one spouse is no longer a resident of Canada, foreign and domestic laws apply.

A divorce ordered by the appropriate authority in a foreign jurisdiction is valid in Canada. We encourage you to reach out to one of our experienced Family Lawyers before proceeding in any jurisdiction. With a divorce in another country, you may be giving up certain rights.

A court in a province has jurisdiction to hear a divorce proceeding if either spouse has lived in that province for at least one year before the proceeding. If you and your spouse both commence separate divorce proceedings on the same day and neither one of you discontinues your proceeding, your divorce will proceed in a Federal Court.

Property is governed by provincial legislation. In Ontario, the Family Law Act applies to property rights associated with marriage and equalization payments. If the matrimonial home was in Ontario, the Family Law Act applies.

Corollary relief refers to the arrangements made in the context of divorce, for example, child and spousal support. Divorce in Canada involves decrees to dissolve the marriage.

Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act

The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act assists individuals in Ontario enforce support orders when an ex-spouse lives in a “reciprocating jurisdiction”. Essentially, this Act ensures that even if your spouse lives in a different province or country you will continue to receive your support payments. Each province and territory has a maintenance enforcement program to assist you. Check out our post on enforcing child and/or spousal support for more information.

When a divorce proceeds in a foreign jurisdiction, provincial legislation around spousal support does not apply. A divorce order from another country cannot modify a divorce order in your province.

In very limited circumstances it is possible for a province to assert jurisdiction after a divorce has commenced in a foreign jurisdiction. Contact our divorce lawyers to best advise you on how to move forward from an application.

Navigating divorce is challenging enough without adding the complexities of foreign laws. Our experienced Family Lawyers would be happy to discuss your specific situation in detail. Please call our office at 905-366-0202 to book a free consultation or contact us here.

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