Dear Ms Powell,
I am engaged and planning to get married to a Canadian citizen in December. The wedding is going to be at Niagara Falls.
I already have a visitor's visa, so I'm not writing you about that. I filled out some forms, and sent the original of my divorce from Jamaica and my fiancÚ told me that he is having difficulty getting the marriage licence as the divorce was done in Jamaica. Doesn't Canada accept divorce from Jamaica? How do I prove that my divorce is valid? How long will the process take?
Congratulations on your engagement. A divorce which is granted by the Supreme Court of Jamaica and recognised in Jamaica is usually acceptable proof that you are free to remarry in Canada. However, before a marriage licence is granted, the minister of government services will need to grant you permission to marry in Ontario.
This permission will be granted once you have a legal opinion from a lawyer who is licensed to practise in Ontario. The opinion will outline the legal and factual reasons why a divorce granted in Jamaica should be recognised in Canada.
You will need to contact a lawyer in Ontario to prepare the opinion on your behalf. The documents that you should present to the lawyer are:
1. Original or attested copy of the Decree Absolute/Divorce granted by the Supreme Court of Jamaica;
2. Proof of identity;
3. Details about where you and your former spouse lived prior to the divorce, and at the time of the divorce application;
4. A statement of sole responsibility signed by both you and your fiancÚ in the presence of the lawyer or a notary public.
After you have received the legal opinion from the lawyer, this should be submitted along with your licence application and the statement of responsibility to the Office of the Registrar General in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The process is usually completed within four weeks. Your marriage licence and original documents will be returned to either you or your lawyer.
Best of luck!
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, personal injury, real estate, family, commercial and estates law. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration.