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Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter and What It Does

If you divorce or separate, you’ll have to make many important decisions, including how you’ll manage your finances and where you’ll live. If you have children, you focus on their needs. Learn about your duties and rights. Other family laws are federal, while others are territorial or provincial. You should know which family laws apply to your situation. It’s best to hire an attorney for help because family law can be complicated.

Suppose you’re filing a divorce outside of Canada and are interested in getting married in the province of Ontario. In that case, you should ask for legal advice on your foreign divorce from a licensed Canadian attorney beforehand. It ensures that your application for marriage submission is accompanied by a foreign divorce opinion letter. Missing this crucial step can lead to the denial of your marriage certificate.

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

Your attorney will draft a legal opinion letter to state their assessment about whether Canada will recognize your foreign divorce. Before issuing the letter, they assess crucial factors and applicable guidelines, including where the involved parties lived, the state where the divorce was granted, and other issues. Once these are considered, they issue an opinion on whether Canadian law can recognize the foreign divorce.

Documents Needed for Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

Your attorney will need the following information to complete the required assessment and draft the opinion letter, so make sure to bring these documents during the appointment.

  • Marriage Application – completed by each of the parties that wants to marry
  • Divorce Decree – the original or a copy that’s certified by the court
  • Statement of Sole Responsibility – both of the parties that want to marry should sign this document.
  • Signed Statement Confirming Residency in Divorce Jurisdiction – Written by the divorced party to confirm that they or their previous spouse resided in the state where the divorce was granted for a minimum of one year before applying for it

Purpose of Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

  • Your letter of opinion is written by a divorce attorney in Ontario, stating that their opinion that the foreign divorce is legally valid and should be recognized by law. Your lawyer will also look into the state’s legal system where the divorce was approved to find more information about where the married couple lived and the laws that applied to their circumstances.
  • After assessing the legal regulations and required factors, your attorney will give a legal opinion on whether or not a foreign divorce is acceptable in Canada. Your letter will also list why the attorney thinks that the foreign divorce should be considered valid in Canada.
  • Your letter is based on the information and laws establishing either the party has a substantial connection with the state granting the divorce or the other party. It can only be written and signed by an attorney in Ontario who has certification from the Law Society of Ontario.
  • Lastly, the Registrar General of Ontario will reject letters written by an attorney who doesn’t have the required authority or qualifications.
Reasons for Marriage Application Rejection
One party failed to give notice that they were applying for divorce. If you want to file for divorce but your partner doesn’t consent, you can still get one under certain circumstances. You’d have to prove the breakdown of your marriage, including mental or physical abuse or adultery. If you proved this, you’d be granted a divorce if the court can hear your application.
The divorce order goes against public policy. If you filed for divorce outside Canada, you should prove that it was legal in that country before you can get remarried. It can only be recognized by law if you or your spouse lived in the country where you filed the divorce for at least one year before the start of the proceedings.
A foreign court couldn’t grant the divorce. Ontario courts may reject a foreign due to specifically limited grounds, including:

  • Situations where fraud is present
  • Situations where the foreign court didn’t have proper jurisdiction
  • Situations where the foreign divorce order is contrary to public policy, even if the case law has stated that this ground is to have a narrow application
  • Situations where one didn’t give notice concerning the divorce

It is important to remember that only a lawyer licensed and authorized by the Law Society of Upper Canada can prepare a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter. Get in touch with Lisa Gelman & associated to have your legal opinion letter started.

Pro Tip

Make sure to submit a legal opinion letter on the foreign divorce to the government before getting remarried to prevent your marriage from being void.


Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter Drafter by a Lawyer

If you want to marry in Ontario, only licensed attorneys certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada can provide and sign the letter of opinion on a foreign divorce. If you try to make the letter yourself or ask an unlicensed attorney to write it, the local government will reject it. Your attorney will clearly understand why they think your foreign divorce should be recognized as a valid divorce in Ontario. Your letter should also reference applicable Ontario laws and relevant facts to support what the attorney has provided.

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter FAQs

Make sure to plan ahead of your wedding ceremony to leave sufficient time to get the legal documents signed and approved. Getting approved to remarry takes about four weeks. Then, you have ninety days from the date your marriage license is issued to reapply or get married.

Ontario generally recognizes a divorce from another country if:

  • One or both parties involved lived in that country for one year immediately before applying for the divorce.
  • The divorce was recognized by the laws of that country.

Other factors can also determine whether or not that law could recognize your foreign divorce. If you’re not sure whether the law will recognize the divorce, speak to an attorney.

Before the government issues your marriage license, you should obtain authorization from the Registrar-General. To do this, you have to present the following documents:

  • A marriage license application written by your new spouse and you
  • Original divorce orders or notarized copies of the order. If the judgment is in another language, you’ll have to obtain a court-certified translation of it.
  • A completed Statement of Sole Responsibility, the document attests that your new spouse and you understand that granting a new marriage license doesn’t mean that the law would recognize the foreign divorce.
  • A legal opinion letter from an attorney addressed to your new spouse and you, giving an opinion that the divorce would be recognized as valid in Ontario and giving the reasons for their assessment.
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