Under federal family laws, the Divorce Act only applies to married couples. If you’re together in a common-law relationship, the Divorce Act won’t apply to you. If you are married, the laws determine the grounds for your divorce, how child support will work out, how to obtain spousal support, and parenting and custody arrangements after divorce.
The Divorce Act is a federal law, which means that it applies no matter which part of Canada you’re in. Separately, the process of starting a divorce can vary under each province or territory’s personal regulations.
As someone who may be trying to obtain a divorce from a foreign marriage, you’ll need to make sure Canada recognizes your marriage. In general, the country does recognize foreign marriages as long as one or both spouses have lived in the country for at least one year before the divorce. If the divorce was valid in the laws of the country where it took place, that also qualifies the couple for divorce in Canada. There could be mitigating factors that make divorce possible or not, so a lawyer can help you understand how to move forward with your personal case.
For those who got married in another country or who have foreign spouses living with them in Canada, you need to understand that you’ll still be obligated to care for the person’s basic needs due to their sponsorship. The sponsorship continues for three years following permanent residency. Until that time expires, you may have to continue providing housing, compensation or other needs for the ex-spouse.