The Canadian government sparked a fire storm earlier this year when it announced — through a legal brief filed in the case of a same-sex couple seeking a divorce — that foreign couples wed in Canada couldn’t be considered legally married because their marriages were not recognized in their domestic jurisdictions. The Harper government “moved quickly to quell the controversy, promising it had no intention of revisiting the debate on the definition of marriage” and today introduced legislation to address the problem:
The bill, called an act to amend the Civil Marriage Act, says it establishes a “new divorce process that allows a Canadian court to grant a divorce to non-resident spouses who reside in a state where a divorce cannot be granted to them because that state does not recognize the validity of their marriage.”
The amendments would allow a court in the province where the marriage was performed to grant a divorce if there has been a breakdown of the marriage as “established by the spouses having lived separate and apart” for at least one year before a divorce is requested. The divorce would only be granted if neither spouse lives in Canada at the time the divorce is requested, by one, or both individuals.
A local news report on the change: