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Home > Canada > Marriage Law
Marriage Law Canada
MARRIAGE LAWS OF CANADA
 
VOID OR VOIDABLE MARRIAGES
 
In law, there is a difference between marriages that are "void" and those which are "voidable". Void marriages are those which are afflicted with a fatal flaw which nullifies the marriage no matter what the position of the spouses might be. The legal status of void marriages are as if they never occurred.
 
Voidable marriages mean that even though there is legal flaw in the marriage, it will be recognized until and unless someone brings the flaw to the attention of a court. Provincial marriage acts provide details on the legal age required for marriage. Generally, marriages of males below the age of 15 are voidable and below the age of 12 for girls.
 
Marriages of convenience, such as for social assistance, income tax or immigration purposes, are not voidable on that grounds alone because the courts don't care about the motive for marrying. Attempts to void marriages done on a bet, on a dare, to avoid a court-martial or to get a conditional gift from a will, have all failed.
 
Religious annulments are not recognized by civic or judicial authorities and are valid only to the extent that they may be recognized by the Church. Divorce or annulment proceedings on one of the above-mentioned grounds is the proper way to effect a legal end to a marriage in Canada.
 
MARRIAGE LICENSE
 
A licence to marry may be obtained from the issuer of marriage licences at your local municipal clerk's office. At least one party to the proposed marriage must apply in person. However, the application must be signed by both applicants.
 
The issuer may require proof of age of either party. (if only one party is applying, he/she must bring proof of age of the other party.) All minors must submit proof of age. There are no requirements respecting residency, pre-marital blood tests or medical certificates. The licence expires 3 months after the date of issue. There is a fee charged for a marriage licence.
 
Identification
 
A current passport (which includes a photo) or an original birth certificate with one piece of photo I.D., ie. driver's licence, health card, etc., is required for both applicants.
 
One must be 18 years of age to get married. It is illegal to marry if you are under 16. Anybody 16 or 17 years of age (other than a widow, widower or divorced person) may marry with the written consent of his/her legal guardian. A special consent form is available for this purpose from your local municipal office. If any person whose consent is required is unavailable or refuses to consent, an application may be made to a judge to dispense with consent.
 
Previous Marriages
 
If a previous marriage was dissolved or annulled within Canada, the original or court certified copy of the Decree Absolute or Certificate of Divorce must be submitted. A divorce judgment is not acceptable. Certified copies may be obtained from the court which granted the divorce. Photocopies are not acceptable, and all documents will be returned.
 
If the marriage was dissolved or annulled outside Canada you will have to get the authorization of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. This requirement is explained in more detail below.
 
Where the earlier marriage of one of the parties was terminated by the presumed death of a spouse, a court order declaring the presumed death of the spouse must be obtained. An issuer of marriage licences can provide more infommation upon request.
 
License fee
 
A license fee of $110.00 is required to be paid in cash or money or order or certified cheque or VISA or MasterCard or debit card.
 
MARRIAGE CEREMONY
 
It is the responsibility of the persons wishing to marry as to arrange the marriage ceremony of their choice. Marriage services are provided at the Civic Centre.
 
Publication of Banns
 
A marriage may be solemnized under the authority of the publication of banns where both parties to the proposed marriage worship regularly at their own church in Canada.
 
No one may marry under the authority of the publication of banns if there was a previous marriage (dissolved or annulled). Further information concerning marriage under the authority of the publication of banns may be obtained from a minister or a member of the clergy.
 
PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE
 
A marriage ceremony in may be performed by:
  1. A minister or member of the clergy registered under the Marriage Act.
  2. A judge or justice of the peace. Local court offices and municipal offices may provide the names of judges or justices of the peace who perform civil marriage ceremonies.
SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE
 
A marriage may be solemnized under the authority of a licence or the publication of banns.
 
Authorization
 
To obtain this authorization, the applicants or a lawyer representing them must submit the following to the Office of the Registrar General:
  1. A completed marriage licence application signed by both applicants.
  2. A copy of the decree of divorce or annulment (certified by the proper court officer in the jurisdiction the divorce/annulment was granted) or sealed by the court. If the decree is in a language other than English or French, you must include a certified translation.
  3. A statement of Sole Responsibility for each divorce signed by both applicants. Blank affidavits are available from the local issuer of marriage licences.
  4. A legal opinion of an lawyer of the Province addressed to both applicants, giving reasons why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in the Province.
CIVIL CEREMONY
 
A civil ceremony by a judge or justice of the peace may only be conducted under the authority of a marriage licence. The date and time of the ceremony must be arranged by the applicant. The applicants must also arrange for two witnesses to be present at the ceremony. There is an additional fee for civil ceremonies.
East York Civic Centre 850 Coxwell Avenue 416-397-4854
North York Civic Centre 5100 Yonge Street 416-397-7220
Scarborough Civic Centre 150 Borough Drive 416-396-7216
York Civic Centre 2700 Eglinton Ave. W. 416-394-2520
Toronto City Hall 100 Queen St. W 416-363-9248 or
416-363-0316

         MARRIAGE LICENCE AND VITAL STATISTICS OFFICES
 
Civic centre Hours Enquiry
line
East York
850 Coxwell Ave.
Main floor
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
416-397-4854
Etobicoke
399 The West Mall
Main floor
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
416-394-8090
North York
5100 Yonge St.
Ground Level
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
416-395-7338
Scarborough
150 Borough Drive
3rd floor
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
416-396-4302
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen St. W.
Main floor
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
416-392-7036
York
2700 Eglinton Ave. W.
2nd floor
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
416-394-2520


 
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