Hi, I am a Canadian citizen, currently residing in the Middle East for over a year. I got married in Ontario in early 2010 to my spouse who now posesses The Canadian Permanent Resident Status through our marriage.My spouse and I, both of whom currently live in the Middle East are thinking of getting a divorce, and I was wondering if we could take care of the procedure overseas or would we need to travel back to Canada for this. Secondly, we have no children or assets in Canada, so would she be eligible for any type of financial support from me during or after the divorce? The "application to sponsor a spouse" had a declaration regarding my spouse's family as well, does that mean I am financially responsible towards them, if they choose to immigrate at a later date? The sponsorship was for my wife only and does not mention any of her family members. Thank You
Not only can you get divorces in the Mid East but you actually cannot apply for a divorce in Canada.
You have to be living in one of the provinces for at least one full year before applying for a divorce.
So the laws of Canada do not apply in this case for your family law matters.
If your financial undertaking included her family then you would be responsible or them if she sponsors them.
This would only apply if the went on social assistance.
Thanks for the answer. The undertaking does not mention the names of any of her family members, so does that mean if she were to sponsor any members of her family on her own later on I would not be financially responsible for them.
Secondly, if I understand correctly, I can be held responsible financially only if my spouse were to go onto Social Assistance within the 3 year period following her becoming a Permant Resident. Also, was there any other financial obligation that I should be made aware of like alimony, etc.
In terms of immigration legal issues you would be liable if she sponsors family members that then get social assistance. But unless she has kids she can only sponsor her parents.
And your marriage was so short that in Canada it's not likely you would have to pay spousal support for very long if at all.
But you are not living in Canada nor are you going to apply for the divorce in Canada so unless she moves back to Canada she cannot avail herself of our laws anyway.
Thanks Debra, but she is planning on moving to Canada after the divorce
Well it's not likely that she can get support unless she applies almost right away.
If you were married for 2 years then she would likely get a small amount of support for about a year, at the most, and only if you have been supporting her all this time.
We both were working during the time we were together in Canada
The Court would look at both your incomes for the length of your marriage and determine whether she can become self-sustaining now or not.
I could delay giving her a divorce for another 6 months to make sure that the 3 year period stated in the undertaking was up, but my concern at that point would be her family (although not stated on the undertaking)
But even if you divorce her now that doesn't means she will be on social assistance does it?
Thats true, but she will return to Canada (specifically stated by her), and if the 3 year term is not up, she might apply for social assistance
so wouldn't it be better for me to wait until the 3 year period was up, and then divorce her, she goes to Canada, and at least cannot hold me financially liable if she were to go on social assistance
Are you separated now?
Yes we are Debra
So you see, I am trying to understand all the repurcussions and make an informed decision. My concerns are the financial implications
Are you saying she will stay in the mid-east until the divorce is complete?
and plans on going back to canada after the divorce
So waiting a few more months may help you then.
Thats exactly what I was thinking. Just to rule out any possibility of her having me financially responsible for social assistance in the event that she claims
That makes sense.
That way I can make sure that the 3 from the time that she obtained her PR status has been completed
Yes that is true.
My other concern would be her family Debra, she has no kids, but does have parents, would she be able to sponsor them later, and if they happen to seek Social Assistance,could I be held liable even after the divorce and after the 3 year term
It sounds like this could be a problem.
is that for an indefinite time?
I cannot read the undertaking so I am not sure.
Is there any way I could Email it to you? I have it on my desktop
No I am no allowed to do that unfortunately.
I am trying to copy and paste it, but its adobe is not allowing me to do it
I am not allowed to review documents unfortunately.
But it's a little strange that I had sponsored my spouse and not her family, but I can still be held financially liable if she in turn were to sponsor her family and they go on Social Assistance
It is but you may have agreed to it unfortunately.
I wish there was someway I could have you review the Sponsorship Declaration to see what it actually outlines
I was doing some research but I cannot seem to find any information about this.\
I do think you can call the closest Canada visa office and ask.
Where are you living right now and I can try and find the number for you.
Thanks Debra, I am in Saudi Arabia
Let me check.
Thanks Debra, I will look into that and contact them
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Hi, Debra, we gave the decesion much thought and realised that it would be best to go for a divorce right away rather than to wait for a few more months. She plans on returning to Canada right after the divorce is completed. Other than the risk of her going on Social Assistance, could there be any other potential financial risk that I potentially be held liable for. Thank You.
I don't see that there would be unless she comes to Canada and then decided to apply for spousal support but your marriage was so short it's not likely she would get much spousal support, if any, and it would not be for very long.
Thanks for your reply. So from what I understand, if we were to be divorced as of right now (being married for 2 years), I could potentially be held liable if she were to claim Social Assistance in Canada (within the 3 year period of the declaration) and also there is a small chance that she could claim spousal support when she moves to Canada after being divorced. Any other financial factors to be considered before we decide on an official divorce, thank you
I don't think there are as I don't see how she can come to Canada and make an application for a share in any asset if you have any once the divorce is done.But why not have a simple Separation Agreement done there. It can cover all issues and even say she is liable to you if she goes on social assistance.
Thanks Debra, what is a seperation agreement, is it a possible for me to draw one up right here in the Middle East and have her sign it, would it be binding if she were to claim Social Assistance upon going back to Canada, even though I have signed the Sponsorship Declaration
If she signs an agreement in the Middle East then it's not clear that it can be enforce in Canada.The best way to do this is to retain a lawyer in Canada in the province she will move to, to do a proper separation agreement for both of you and she needs to get independent legal advice to make it binding.
Now can a seperation agreement consisting of a clause saying she is liable to me if she goes on social assistance, be done with a lawyer even after the divorce, since I am planning on divorcing her in the next few days and getting the divorce deed attested by the canadian consulate here in Saudi Arabia, before she leaves to Canada
Yes you can have her sign an agreement later but you cannot force her to of course.So there may not be any reason for her to agree.
The reason I am asking this is because, I was planning on giving her a substantial amount of money in good fate as a farewell gift, just to make sure that we end things as friends.
The safer way from a legal point of view is to hold off giving this voluntary gift until after she signs.
I agree, but do you know if I could have a lawyer recognized by the Canadian Embassy in Saudi draft out the document, have her sign it and give her the money right here in Saudi. It would just save me a trip to Canada and we could conclude the marriage sooner, since we both are in Saudi right now. Kindly let me know what your thoughts are.
You don't need to come to Canada.I don't know if there are licenced lawyers at the Embassy. You can call and ask.But you can consult with a lawyer over the phone and retain the lawyer over the phone.
Do you know if the drafting of the agreement, along with sihning it, all be done with us still being in Saudi Arabia. If its possible, that would be great.
Yes is it possible.You would have a lawyer in the province she is moving to draft it and she would consult with another lawyer in the same city who would read the contract and provide her with independent legal advice.This can all be done long distance.