Divorce and Immigration

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Persons who were married in another country, before immigrating to Quebec, can obtain a divorce in Quebec if they meet certain conditions. It may even be easier to obtain a divorce in Quebec than in the place they were married. For example, in Quebec (as well as in the rest of Canada) it is possible for someone to obtain a divorce even if their spouse disagrees.

Divorce in Quebec

To get divorced in Quebec, couples must meet these two requirements:

Example

Hans and Olga were married in Germany before immigrating to Quebec. After living in Quebec for several years they separated and have now lived apart for more than a year. Hans would like to try to reconcile with Olga and resume living together, but Olga wants a divorce. Given that they have lived in Quebec for more than a year, Olga can ask for a divorce in Quebec and will be able to obtain it, even if Hans disagrees.

Divorce in Quebec or Somewhere Else

Which Laws Apply to the Divorce

Even when couples agree to get divorced in Quebec, laws from other countries can apply along with Quebec laws.

For example, couples can ask a Quebec court to apply a matrimonial regime from another country when dividing the value of some of their property.

Which Court Hears the Case

Sometimes one of the spouses wants to get divorced in Quebec, but the other wants to get divorced in another country. This might happen if the laws of the other country are better for one person.

If each spouse starts divorce proceedings in a different country and challenges the steps the other one is taking, then each court will have to decide these questions:

  • whether it will hear the divorce case and give a decision (either partial or complete) or let a court in another country handle the case instead
  • which laws it should use to decide the case.

Recognition of a Divorce From Another Country

A court decision from another country granting a divorce will not always be recognized in Quebec. Similarly, a divorce decision from Quebec will not always be recognized in another country.

You can contact a legal professional to learn whether your divorce decision will be recognized, especially if your former spouse is challenging it.

Effect of Divorce on Immigration Sponsorship

The situation can be more complicated when one spouse sponsors the other as part of an application for permanent residence.

Sponsors can cancel the sponsorship any time before their spouse becomes a permanent resident.

However, it is impossible to cancel the sponsorship after the spouse has become a permanent resident. The sponsor must support their spouse financially for three years starting from the time permanent residence is granted. The sponsor must respect this commitment even if there is a divorce.