Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter


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If you want to marry in Ontario and were previously divorced outside Canada, you need a foreign divorce opinion letter from a lawyer. You must submit a foreign divorce opinion letter along with your application for marriage. Your marriage certificate will be denied if you do not follow this step.

What is a foreign divorce opinion letter? This is a letter from a lawyer stating whether the foreign divorce would be recognized in Canada. The lawyer will take into account the jurisdiction where the divorce was granted, where the parties to the divorce resided, the applicable law, and any other factors required to assess the recognition of the foreign divorce in Canada.

After assessing all of the relevant factors, the lawyer will provide an opinion on the recognition of the foreign divorce in Ontario. The lawyer will also provide clear reasons as to why he or she believes the divorce would be recognized as valid in Ontario. The letter will make reference to the applicable law in Ontario and the relevant facts that support the opinion of the lawyer.

Who can draft and sign off on a foreign divorce opinion letter? Please note that in Ontario only a lawyer who is licenced and authorized to practice law by the Law Society of Upper Canada can prepare this letter. If you attempt to draft your own letter, or through an unlicensed practitioner, it will be rejected by the government.

What do I need to bring to my appointment? The following documents will be required for your appointment:

  1. The original or court certified copy of the divorce decree.
  2. An Application for Marriage (completed by both parties intending to marry)
  3. A Statement of Sole Responsibility (signed by both of the parties intending to marry)
  4. A written statement from the divorced individual confirming that either they or their former spouse were living in the jurisdiction that granted the divorce for at least 1 year immediately before the application for divorce was submitted.
  5. Full payment of $199 plus HST for the letter.

MAIL SERVICE: If you are unable to attend our office, no need to worry. We now offer a convenient mail in service that saves you a trip to our office. This service includes our firm reviewing and submitting the entire package to the Marriage Office, in addition to the completion of the letter.  

There is an additional $125 plus HST fee for the mail service option. Please note that we offer this service across Ontario, Canada.

What is the process of getting remarried after obtaining the foreign divorce opinion letter? The process after obtaining the foreign divorce opinion letter is not difficult. You will be required to submit the foreign divorce opinion letter along with additional material to the following address: Office of the Registrar General P.O. Box 4600, 189 Red River Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 6L8, Attention: Marriage Office The following is a list of documents you will have to send to the above noted government office:

  1. The Application for Marriage signed by both parties
  2. The original or court certified copy of the divorce decree. If the divorce is not in English or French, you will also be required to submit a certified translation of the divorce decree.
  3. The foreign divorce opinion letter from an Ontario lawyer stating that the foreign divorce would be valid in Ontario.

Please make sure you give yourself ample time to fulfill this requirement. Once the completed package is sent in, it can take weeks and in some cases months for the government to provide you authorization to marry.

Service Ontario provides valuable information on the marriage process. For information on how to get the documents you need to marry in Ontario you can visit the government site here.

Other Important Information

In Ontario, the minimum age for marriage is 16 years of age. If you are under the age of 18 you will require parental consent to marry.

Marriages are performed either as a religious marriage or a civil marriage. Regardless of the type of marriage, the person performing the marriage must be legally authorized to perform the marriage. In a religious marriage a religious official who is authorized as a religious marriage officiant performs the marriage. In a civil marriage an authorized clerk of the municipality, a justice of the peace or judge performs the marriage.

Regardless of the type of marriage, a marriage licence is needed prior to the performance of the marriage ceremony. You will need to provide two government IDs and pay a fee to obtain the marriage licence.

Once married you will be ready to order a marriage certificate.

For more information on obtaining a foreign divorce opinion letter, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer.

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Resuming Marital Relations during Separation Period

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption