Divorce and Immigration

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Newcomers to Quebec often have to deal with major cultural differences. For example, the rights of each person in a couple might not be the same as in the country they came from. What happens when recently-arrived immigrants want a divorce in Quebec?  


Divorce in Quebec

To get divorced in Quebec, couples must meet these two requirements:


Hans and Olga were married in Germany before immigrating to Quebec. Twelve years later, Olga wants a divorce because Hans left her for another woman. Because they have been living in Quebec for over a year, and because adultery is one of the legal reasons for divorce, Olga can ask for a divorce in Quebec. 


Divorce in Quebec or Somewhere Else

Which Laws Apply to the Divorce

Even when couples agree to get divorced in Quebec, laws from other countries can apply along with Quebec laws.

For example, couples can ask a Quebec court to apply a matrimonial regime from another country when dividing the value of some of their property.


Which Court Hears the Case

Sometimes one of the spouses wants to get divorced in Quebec, but the other wants to get divorced in another country. This might happen if the laws of the other country are better for one person.

If each spouse starts divorce proceedings in a different country and challenges the steps the other one is taking, then each court will have to decide these questions:

  • whether it will hear the divorce case and give a decision (either partial or complete) or let a court in another country handle the case instead
  • which laws it should use to decide the case.


Recognition of a Divorce From Another Country

The situation can be more complicated when one spouse sponsors the other’s application for permanent residence.

Application for permanent residence. Permanent residence can be refused if the couple divorces before the application is accepted.

Sponsorship undertaking. The sponsor must promise to support the other spouse financially for three years starting from the time permanent residence is granted. The sponsor must keep this promise even if there is a divorce.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.