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The question was popped… and the answer was yes! You’re going to get married. Congratulations! After talking things over together, you’ve decided to tie the knot abroad, as many Quebecers do.

If the idea of a more intimate ceremony on a sandy beach or in a small chapel in Las Vegas appeals to you, know that there are certain formalities to comply with:

  • The marriage is governed by the jurisdiction where the ceremony is held, or by the law of the domicile or of the nationality of one of the spouses.
  • Quebec residents must also comply with certain conditions set out in the Civil Code of Québec primarily concerning the legal age for marriage, consent, the degree of relationship between the spouses, and the absence of matrimonial ties with a third party.
Each state has its rules

Gerer_Mariage_a_letranger_encadre_ENGBefore choosing the state where you want to get married, you must know the local requirements and, if you are a Quebecer, you must verify if the conditions set out in the Civil Code of Québec are met. If any of these conditions is not complied with, the marriage unfortunately may not be recognized in Quebec.

Note that the conditions vary from one jurisdiction to the next. In Mexico, for example, the spouses must undergo a blood test in the state where the marriage will take place, and some states require a chest X-ray, to ensure that neither of the spouses has a contagious disease.

While most states require the presence of two witnesses, the rules differ as to the official documents you must provide. Your passport, a certificate of civil status confirming that you are single, a certificate of divorce from a former spouse or a former spouse’s death certificate, your birth certificate, or other documents may be required, and some countries may require that you have these documents translated or authenticated at your expense.

To learn more about the requirements you will have to meet, contact the embassy or the consulate of the state where you will celebrate the best day of your life.

Back in Quebec…

From a legal standpoint, it is important to know that if you get married outside Canada, when you get back home, you will have the same rights and obligations as couples married in Quebec, and you will be subject to the same rules governing family residence, family patrimony, and matrimonial regimes. It is recommended that you register your marriage certificate issued in another country with the Directeur de l’état civil du Québec. To do so, you will have to provide proof of domicile in Quebec, as well as the original or a certified copy of the marriage certificate. If this document is not written in French or English, you will have to obtain an official translation of it from the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec.

If you have any questions about marriage abroad, contact one of our Advisors today to obtain the information you need.

This article explains in general terms the law in force in Quebec and is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To know the rules that apply to your particular situation, consult your legal advisor.

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