Separation In Different Cultural Practices

Canada is a multicultural country, welcoming new immigrants from around the world each year. This means different cultures co-existing and co-mingling with each other. There may be times where different cultural practices can conflict with Canadian law. More specifically, different cultural practices can conflict with how Canadian law views separation and marriage.

What makes a marriage legal in Ontario?

In Ontario, both people need to be at least 16 years old to get married. If you are under 18, however, both people will need written consent from their parents.

Marriages from other countries are generally recognized in Canada. This is provided that they were legally valid marriages. If, however, your marriage was not valid and you are seeking a legal separation/divorce, then you may need legal advice. A lawyer can help you determine the appropriate course of action: separation or annulment.

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a court order declaring that your marriage was never valid. This means that both you and your partner, in the eyes of the law, were not actually married. Even if you get an annulment, you are not relieved of all legal responsibilities. In some circumstances, you may still be required to pay spousal support even if you get an annulment.

A religious annulment is different from a court-ordered annulment. In some religions, a divorce is not recognized. In order to remarry within a certain religion, you may need to get a religious annulment as well.

If you get a court-ordered annulment, you do not need to go through a divorce or separation. You are also able to re-marry after the annulment.

Arranged Marriages

Arranged marriages are common, especially in other parts of the world. Arranged marriages are legally recognized in Canada. Arranged marriages may not be recognized, however, if the parties involved did not consent. If both or either partner was forced to marry, the marriage may be invalidated and considered as forced marriage. To prove force, the person must have felt pressured to marry to the point that they feared for their own safety.

Are divorces from other countries legal in Canada?

In Ontario, divorces from other countries are recognized if you and your partner lived in that country for at least one year before divorce was filed. If you lived in another country for less than one year and filed for divorce, you would have to show that you have a “real and substantial connection” with that place in order for your divorce to be legal. A real and substantial connection can be shown through the person indicating they own land in that country and/or spends a lot of time there.

If you have a divorce from another country, you will not have the ability to claim spousal support in Canada.

If you are looking for more information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to discuss your matter over a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

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