You could be forced to divide precious personal possessions and assets just for marrying someone who scammed you to immigrate to Canada.
Even if you were duped into marrying a foreign partner, Ontario marriage laws and Canada’s Divorce Act give your partner property and matrimonial rights. If you willingly agree to a marriage of convenience to sponsor a foreigner to Canada, you could face criminal charges.
Axess Law protects you before you take the leap, with a certificate of independent legal advice or prenuptial agreement (Ontario), and after, with a marriage contract or formal separation agreement. We help you end sham marriages by filing for simple divorce in Ontario family court.
How to Prove a Marriage of Convenience in Canada
You fell head over heels with your spouse when you met them. Now you’re feeling suspicious.
Red flags you could be caught up in a marriage fraud:
- You found your spouse on social media, then discovered they were trolling for partners for quite awhile.
- Your new acquaintance was anxious to marry, even though you just barely met.
- They’ve been married before to foreigners — and it didn’t work out.
- They told you their divorce came through, but can’t provide papers to prove it.
- They text, email or phone their ex-partner all the time.
- You realize you know very little about the person you married, but they know a lot about you and your money.
- You’re being pressured to sponsor or give money to their family members, including their ex.
What is a Sham Marriage?
Marrying someone simply to immigrate to Canada is a crime. You have a responsibility to contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to report a sham marriage. Otherwise, you could be mistaken as colluding with your new spouse, especially if you took money or rewards to marry. Even a dowry could be suspect.
Can you really afford the fake marriage price your business and personal reputation could suffer? Axess Law can arrange an uncontested divorce in Ontario family court, before your good name is sullied.
Getting an international divorce in Canada could be your best option. Your situation could get messy if your spouse gets a foreign divorce that isn’t recognized by Canadian law.
Proving a Sham Marriage
Axess Law is skilled at proving marriage fraud. We look for evidence:
- False representation occurred.
- Your spouse was aware of the falsity and intended to deceive you.
- You relied on the representation and suffered damage as a result.
If you were tricked into marrying someone you thought cared about you, we can help.
Your Financial Obligations
Sponsoring a partner to immigrate to Canada is a legal contract. You are responsible for a new partner’s financial support for up to three years, even if they only stay with you for a few days or weeks after they arrive. If they leave and apply for income assistance, you (not they) will have to repay it.
If you divorce, regardless of how long you lived together, your new spouse has property and matrimonial rights. They could claim a share of homes you bought together, 50% of shared assets like joint bank accounts and investments or claim part of your pension if you’re retired.
Ontario divorce court doesn’t discriminate when it comes to your spouse’s intentions when they married. Judges simply calculate your incomes, how long you were together and shared and pre-marital assets to arrive at property division and spousal support obligations. (On the upside, your spouse may owe you a share of their assets in foreign countries.)
That extends to child support, so be cautious before you adopt. Adopted step children get a new birth certificate naming you as their parent. Adoption terminates a biological parent’s rights, leaving you responsible for child support and parenting orders.
Once adoption is final, it’s for life. Provided children are old enough to speak for themselves, they will have a voice in court if your spouse applies for child support or alimony.
Not only can you expect legal headaches, but you could be supporting an adopted stepchild until they graduate school, and beyond if they are mentally or physically dependent on you.
The Rule of 66
Fraudsters may target older partners who have more assets. Be aware that if you separated but didn’t divorce, are married five or more years and your age plus years of marriage add up to 65 or more, spousal support can be for life. It’s called the rule of 66 and we can explain it to you.
Seven Ways to Annul Marriages
Ask Axess Law first if you hope to have a marriage of convenience or sham marriage declared null and void by annulling it. Ontario courts rarely grant annulments for marriage fraud alone, even if your marriage was very short or your spouse married you just to get into Canada.
But they may consider your request if:
- Your spouse is a bigamist or polygamist and you didn’t know it.
- You married a minor under 16 (or 16 to 17 without parental permission).
- Your spouse is your full or half brother or sister, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild.
Marriages may also be annulled if:
- Your spouse didn’t understand what marriage is, such as their rights and responsibilities.
- You or your spouse were forced or coerced into marrying.
- The marriage officiant didn’t have the legal right to marry you.
- You are physically or mentally incapable of having sex and didn’t realize it.
Axess Law reviews your situation to see annulment is an option. Get a divorce lawyer near you for practical legal advice on Ontario family law.
Are Religious Annulments Legal?
Jewish gets (ghets) or annulments by religious bodies are not recognized by Ontario law. They simply allow you to remarry in your faith. If you change your mind about being married, Axess Law can draft a separation agreement for Ontario, even if it’s just a trial separation. We file legal papers for divorce and explain parental responsibilities for children. Our divorce lawyers calculate alimony or child support obligations so you can have peace of mind once you split.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Filing for divorce or annulment or finding a sympathetic parenting access lawyer can be tricky when your marriage is suspect. Why complicate divorce or separation by trying to go it alone?
Drafting a proper separation agreement makes the difference between untying marital bonds quickly and endless back and forth negotiations. Axess Law refers you to trusted legal partners if you prefer mediation or your legal issues are complex. Our parenting plan lawyers (Toronto area and Ottawa) can get you started or, if needed, refer you to outside associates who can represent you in family court.
Divorce applications can be complicated. Our flat fee legal services are easy to use and take the stress out of going to court. You may not even have to appear before a family judge and, if you do, we can answer any basic questions you may have.
At Axess Law, a simple divorce costs just $699.99 plus court fees. As long as your spouse agrees divorce is the best option, we have a family divorce lawyer near you (Toronto area or Ottawa) can prepare all the legal documents you need to ask Ontario family court for uncontested divorce.
Documents We Need
Before you arrive for your Axess Law appointment, be sure you have valid Ontario photo ID, letters, emails and any draft or informal separation agreements and parenting arrangements you may have discussed with your spouse. Review your monthly financial budget and bring income statements if you will be asking for spousal support or financial assistance with caring for your children.
Book Online 7 Days a Week, Day or Evening
Axess Law has open law office locations near you in Greater Toronto Area, 7 days a week, day or evening. We arrange online video calls or in person meetings. Parking is available onsite or you can take the bus. Use our easy online booking form to pick the days and times that are most convenient for you. Or call our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line (1-877-402-4277 toll free) to make your appointment with an Axess Law family lawyer.