Immigration Corner: Did my husband divorce me?
Dear Ms Powell,
My husband left Jamaica on a work programme a few years ago. I was told he got married in Canada to get his papers. I didn't get any divorce papers from him.
I checked with the Supreme Court here and there is no record of a divorce. I have a son for him. He isn't supporting either of us. How can I get a copy of the divorce papers if he had filed them in Canada? Can I report him to the Canadian authorities?
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. If someone has lied, provided false information or documents when dealing with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), this is deemed a serious breach of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in Canada.
Allegations of fraudulent divorces carry serious penalties both in Jamaica and Canada. With adequate proof, this should be reported to the authorities in both countries.
I will speak briefly about your concerns about the divorce. The law in Canada and Jamaica requires that you, the wife, be served before a divorce can be granted to your husband.
Since there is no record in Jamaica, you may contact the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings (CRDP) to find out if a divorce was, in fact, filed anywhere in Canada.
The CRDP would be able to advise if a divorce was filed, but cannot provide you with a copy of the divorce papers.
You will be advised of the specific court that the divorce was filed and the court file number.
You will then need to contact the local court to get a copy of the divorce order and certificate of divorce.
The contact information for the CRDP is:
Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings
Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
You should also consult a local family lawyer to deal with your divorce and maintenance claims. Once an order is in place, you may contact a Canadian lawyer to assist you with enforcement of the order against your husband here in Canada.
The important question is whether he committed bigamy, fraudulently obtained a divorce or if he has breached immigration rules.
The Canadian Border Security Agency and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) are the agencies that individuals may contact about 'a marriage of convenience' or other fraudulent activities such as job and email scams.
If you have credible evidence that your husband has acted fraudulently or misrepresented his marital status to any Canadian authority, including IRCC, and that his marriage is 'just to get the papers', you may contact the Canadian Border Security Agency via the website: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca, or you may submit your complaint to the CAFC, through the new Fraud Reporting System on the website: www.antifraudcentre.ca.
The newly established CAFC deals with fraudulent issues including online scams, kidnapping, prize, romance and job scams.
The allegations of fraudulent divorces, bigamy or marriage of convenience should also be reported to your nearest police station in Jamaica.
Please ensure that you have proof of these allegations if you want to be taken seriously.
Also bear in mind that reporting an allegation that is untrue or unfounded could be detrimental to you and your child's future.
Consult with a lawyer to explore your best course of action based on the evidence you have.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public, who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777.