Vital Records » Learn how to obtain a Canadian Divorce Certificate

Learn how to obtain a Canadian Divorce Certificate

By IntFormalities
Updated on January 6, 2022
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Divorce is the legal end of a marriage, that is why only legally-married couples can divorce. An unmarried couple can separate, but cannot divorce.

The Divorce Act is a federal law, but the provinces and territories are responsible for the procedures for getting a divorce. You must fill out the correct forms for your province or territory and file them at a court. A lawyer can also do this for you.

In this text, we will clarify all relevant information regarding this subject, so that your separation and all administrative procedures around it go as smoothly as possible.

When can you apply for a divorce?

  1. You can request a divorce one year after your separation.
  2. You can also ask for a divorce earlier: this is the case when your ex-spouse has cheated on you (adultery), or in cases of mental or physical cruelty.

You may live together for up to 90 days (either before or after filing the petition) to try to reconcile. If the attempt fails, you may continue your divorce proceedings as if you had not spent that time together.

Please note: Just before you request a divorce, you must ensure that you have lived for at least one year in the Canadian province or territory where you are filing the petition.

– What must you prove to get a divorce?

  • You are legally married under the laws of Canada, or your marriage is recognized in Canada.
  • You have lived apart for at least one year and believe that there is no chance of getting back together.


The divorce order has an effective date, which is usually the 31st day after it is issued by the judge. On that date, you and your spouse will be legally divorced.

The divorce certificate proves that you and your spouse are legally divorced. This document usually is available 31 days after the date of the divorce order.


– What is a Divorce Certificate for?

A divorce certificate verifies the legal date of your divorce, which is usually 31 days after the date the order was issued. You will need this certificate if you ever want to get remarried, and for some other legal purposes such as a testamentary procedure, or for the ex-wife to get back her maiden name.

– How to obtain a Divorce Certificate?

You can obtain a certificate of divorce 30 days after the decision of the judge who heard your case. You must go to the same court where you applied for your divorce and bring a copy of your divorce order.

– How much does it cost?

In order to obtain a divorce certificate, you will have to pay $24 by cash, cheque or money order, made payable to the Minister of Finance.

How can I get a divorce certificate if I divorced abroad?

Canada generally agrees a divorce from another country if:

  • The divorce was valid under the laws of that country; and
  • One or both spouses lived in that country for a full year immediately before applying for the divorce.

If you got divorced outside of Canada, you‘ll have to get in contact with the Canadian Ambassade or Consulate where the divorce was pronounced in order to obtain you divorce certificate.

Administrative Procedures in other countries:

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