Same-sex marriage/divorce: How to get a divorce if your home country doesn't recognize your marriage

If your same-sex marriage is valid in BC but not recognized in your home country, and you can't get a divorce there, then you may be able to apply for a divorce in Canada under the Canadian federal Civil Marriage Act. This law allows non-resident couples to apply for a divorce in Canada under three conditions:

  • The marriage has broken down, and the spouses have lived apart for at least one year before applying for divorce.
  • Neither spouse is living in Canada while they make the application.
  • Both spouses live (and have lived for at least one year) in a country in which they can't get a divorce because their marriage isn't recognized as valid.

In Canada, you must apply for a divorce in the superior court of the province. In BC, the superior court is the BC Supreme Court. See the BC Supreme Court Practice Direction — 43: Civil Marriage Act — Procedures for Divorce for information about how to apply for a divorce. This practice direction also contains sample court forms/templates.

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