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When Your Partner Divorces You in a Foreign Country

You separated from your spouse over a year ago. That’s grounds enough for a simple divorce in Ontario. Now you’ve discovered he left Canada and moved to Egypt, where he was born. He’s obtained a divorce from an Egyptian court. Most concerning of all, he wants the children to spend the summer with him. You worry about giving him a travel letter of consent.

Is a Foreign Divorce Even Legal?

They can be. You or your spouse can get a divorce in a foreign country where you have a “real and substantial connection”. For example:

  • you were residents for a least a year before divorcing
  • you were born there and returned after your divorce
  • you own property and travel there often. 

Some countries don’t have residency requirements. They may still be recognized under Canada’s Divorce Act. Axess Law can advise you on how a country’s divorce laws affect you.

Can a Foreign Divorce be Rejected?

Ontario courts may refuse to recognize a foreign divorce if:

  • your spouse took too long to tell you 
  • the terms are unlawful
  • it wasn’t granted by a legal authority
  • fraud occurred.

Which Law Applies?

What if you both apply for divorces, but in different countries? If your spouse is from another country, check with Axess Law’s family law lawyers before you apply in Canada.

What About Custody and Access?

Child custody and access rights can depend on where your children grew up. A child brought to Ontario from a foreign country can be subject to Canadian law. Again, you need legal advice. Be aware though, taking children out of country without written consent affects your spouse’s chances in Ontario court. The court may strike a divorce, custody or access claim because of it. You know your spouse best. If you believe they are capable of child abduction, go to court.

Can I Remarry After Divorce?

Only with authorization from the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. You will need these documents:

  1. Ontario marriage licence application.
  2. Statement of sole responsibility.
  3. Original or court-certified copy of your divorce decree or annulment — translated into English or French with a sworn affidavit from a certified translator.
  4. A legal opinion from a lawyer on why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in Ontario. 

Axess Law’s family law lawyers can help you complete these forms and provide a foreign divorce legal opinion letter. 

Get Legal Advice on Divorce

Consult with an Axess Law lawyer in Toronto and a lawyer in the country where you plan to divorce. That can help you avoid cultural or legal misunderstandings that could thwart your plans. Book an appointment by calling Axess Law at 1-647-479-0118 or use our online booking form. Our lawyers are available 7 days a week, including remotely by phone, email or video call.

Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s family law services.

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