Residential requirements for divorce lifted for foreign same-sex couples married in Canada.
Canada no longer requires foreign couples to have provincial residential status for one year before allowing a petition for divorce. Up until June 2013, at least one member of a same-sex couple had to have lived in the same jurisdiction where they were married for a minimum of one year before being eligible to file for divorce. The new law, Bill C-32, called the Civil Marriage of Non-Residents Act, was enacted in July and provides the opportunity for same-sex couples married in Canada to come to Canada to terminate their marriages, even if their home state or country does not recognize their marriage.
Same-sex marriages have been legally recognized since 2003 in British Columbia, and in 2005 Canada legalized same-sex marriage by passing the Civil Marriage Act. In 2012, the Attorney General of Canada said that non-residents of Canada did not have valid marriages to be dissolved if such marriages were not recognized by their home jurisdiction. Due to location-based discrepancies in the legality of same-sex marriage, many couples throughout North America have had to postpone officiating their separations and divorces. Bill C-32 established a new divorce process which “allows a Canadian court to grant a divorce to non-resident spouses who reside in a state where a divorce cannot be granted to them because that state does not recognize the validity of their marriage.”
Although this law will provide foreign and international same-sex couples to terminate their marriages, it will not allow them to seek other court orders, such as child or spousal support. A number of same-sex couples are expected to use this new law as a way around the cross-border logistics of divorce. A number of non-resident same-sex couples are expected to make use of the new legislation as a way around the cross-border logistics of divorce.