How to get a copy of your marriage certificate
If you want to get a divorce, you need a copy of your marriage certificate. (The marriage certificate you received at the church — or any other place where you were married — isn't acceptable in court.) You can get a copy of your marriage certificate or a certified copy of the registration of marriage from Vital Statistics (an office run by the provincial government).
If you were married:
- in BC, visit the BC Vital Statistics Agency website or a BC Vital Statistics Agency office to find out how to order the certificate you need;
- in another province, you need to get the official marriage certificate or registration of marriage from the office equivalent to the department of vital statistics in that province; or
- in another country, contact the office responsible for marriage records in the country where you were married.
Ask to have your original marriage certificate or a certified copy sent to you.
There is usually a fee for this service. In British Columbia, the fee for a certified copy of a marriage registration is $50.
Be sure to file your marriage certificate at the start of your divorce case.
If you can't get a copy of your marriage certificate — If you can't get your marriage certificate before your case begins, state that on the court forms and explain why. You may be able to file your marriage certificate later if the court registrar is satisfied that you had a good reason for not filing this document sooner. If the court registrar is dissatisfied with your reason for not filing your marriage certificate, your case may be delayed until the document is filed.
If your marriage certificate isn't in English — You need to get your marriage certificate translated by a certified translator if the certificate isn't in English. Ask the translator to give you an Affidavit of Translation. You'll then need to file at the court registry both the original marriage certificate and the Affidavit of Translation with a copy of the marriage certificate and the English translation attached as exhibits. A certified translator can help you do this.
If you were married in Quebec and your marriage certificate is in French — If your marriage certificate is in French, the registry may require you to get it translated into English. Contact your Supreme Court registry to find out what its rule is about marriage certificates in French.
Tip: See our video Selected Topics in Family Law #2: Needed for Divorce: Your Marriage Certificate for more information about marriage certificates.
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