Skip to Content
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation* 905-581-7222

Marriages in other jurisdictions are valid

It's official - in addition to boybander, actor and producer, Justin Timberlake can now add married man to his list of accomplishments. The star wed actress and long-time love Jessica Biel in a romantic ceremony in the southern Italian village of Saveletri di Fasano.

According to People Magazine, Timberlake serenaded a couture-clad Biel as she walked down the aisle before the couple exchanged handwritten vows.

With respect to the couple's choice of locale for their nuptials, Biel explained: "We wanted to create a time for our family and friends to say goodbye to their lives and really feel like they were on vacation."

As destination weddings become increasingly popular among couples seeking to say "I do" in exotic and unusual places, the recognition of these foreign marriages by the wedded parties' home country becomes a question of particular importance.

In Canada, marriages that take place overseas are generally recognized as valid so long as:

  1. The marriage is legal according to the laws of country where it took place
  2. The marriage would have been legal if it had taken place in Canada

With respect to the first requirement, it is crucial for couples considering destination weddings to consider the prerequisites to marriage in the destination country. For example, many countries require a certificate of non-impediment to confirm that the parties' are free to marry. Others may require a letter from the Canadian Embassy stating that there are no impediments to the impending marriage.

With respect to the second requirement, Canadian law prohibits both marriage to more than one person at a time and marriage between close relatives by blood or adoption. In addition, parties must fulfill requirements relating to age and ceremony, which vary from province to province.

While it is not necessary for parties wed in foreign countries to register their marriage upon return to Canada, it is important to obtain and retain a copy of the foreign marriage certificate for the purposes of changing ones' name or obtaining a divorce decree, among other important reasons.

While we are certain that the new Mr. and Mrs. Timberlake will be reveling in their wedded bliss for years to come, we hope they confirmed that their Italian "I do's" would be recognized by Uncle Sam.