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If you or your current partner previously had a divorce from a former marriage and the divorce was done outside Canada, you will be needing a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter before you can marry each other in Ontario, Canada.

Note that this may also apply in case of “annulment of marriage” obtained from a foreign country.  Some countries do not have a divorce law, instead, they have the annulment of marriage which has the same effect as that of divorce, which is the dissolution of the marriage of the spouses.

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter is a document drafted by an Ontario lawyer who has been authorized by the Law Society of Ontario to provide documentation of the same.

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter is needed to verify that the divorce outside Canada is valid in Ontario, Canada, thereby making the divorcee eligible to remarry in Ontario, Canada.

Documents Needed for Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

Your lawyer will need the following documents:

  • Marriage License Application – completed and signed by both parties that are intending to marry.
  • Divorce Decree – the original or an authenticated copy by the court granting the divorce; the original together with a certified translated copy of the Divorce Decree, if the same was written in a different language other than English or French
  • Statement of Sole Responsibility – this document is a declaration that the parties understand that the granting of the marriage license is not a recognition that the divorce or annulment outside Canada is valid and binding in Ontario, Canada.
  • Signed Statement Confirming Residency in Divorce Jurisdiction – Written by the divorced party to confirm that the divorced party or the former spouse resided in the country where the divorce was granted for a minimum of one year before applying for it.  This document can also be done by a statement of substantial connection to the foreign country where the divorce was granted.  Substantial connection to the foreign country, apart from the 12 month prior residency, can also be done by providing proof that the divorced party worked in the foreign country granting the divorce; owns or owned a property of substantial value in the country where the divorce was granted; and the like.

Purpose of Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter

  • Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter is a requirement in order for the application for marriage license to be granted by the Office of the Registrar General.  This Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter, once issued to the applicant, will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar General together with the other documentary requirements for the issuance of a marriage license.
  • In the Foreign Divorce Opinion letter, the authorized Ontario lawyer will render an opinion on whether or not the applicant’s divorce in a foreign country is valid and binding in Ontario, Canada.   Among others, the opinion letter will determine if the divorce from a foreign country has the minimum requirement to be valid in Ontario, Canada, such as the 12 month residency requirement of the divorced party or the former spouse in the country where the divorce was issued or that the divorced party has a substantial connection with the country where the divorce was issued.


What will happen if I applied for a marriage license without the Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter?

If you or your partner had a divorce from your respective former spouses outside Canada, it is a requirement that the marriage license application include the Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter.  Lacking this document will result in the denial of your marriage license application.

It is important to remember that only a lawyer licensed and authorized by the Law Society of Ontario, Canada can prepare a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter. Get in touch with Gelman & Associates 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 FAQs

Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter FAQs

In Gelman & Associates, we can issue a Foreign Divorce Opinion Letter within 24 hours upon submission of ALL the required documents.

Ontario does not recognize “quick divorces”from other countries. You can assess if your or your partner’s divorce from a foreign country is valid in Ontario if:

  • The divorced party/divorcee and/or the former spouse were residents of the foreign country for at least 12 months prior to the divorce being obtained;
  • The divorce is recognized by the laws of that foreign country.

However, other factors can also determine the validity of your or your partner’s foreign divorce in Ontario. It is better to have your Ontario lawyer look into the foreign divorce to be sure.

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