How to get married in Ontario: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what? There are a few steps that you’ll need complete to be legally married in Ontario.

Warning:

Getting married without a prenuptial agreement could cost you $10,000 or more in legal fees if your relationship were to dissolve.

Save you and your partner the financial headaches by getting on the same page now with an agreement.

hilary angrove ontario prenuptial agreement lawyer

Planning a wedding is an exciting task (for some)! Crossing your T’s and signing on the dotted line is certainly not the fun part, but it’s a non-negotiable if you want a legally valid marriage. Let’s dive in…

Legal Age Requirement

You must be at least 18 years of age to get married in Ontario.

If you are under 16 or 17 years old you can still get married, but you must get written consent from all of your parents or legal guardians. All of the parents and/or legal guardians must complete the Consent of Parents or Guardians to Marriage Form when you go to obtain your marriage licence.

What if I have been married before?

If you were divorced in Canada, you will need to provide the original or court-certified copy of the final decree, judgment or certificate of divorce dissolving or annulling the marriage.

If you were divorced outside of Canada, you will also need to provide specific documents to the Government proving that you are no longer married before a marriage licence will be issued:

– A completed and signed marriage licence application form
– A statement of sole responsibility for each divorce signed by both future spouses and witnessed
– A legal opinion letter from an Ontario lawyer, addressed to both future spouses, giving reasons why the divorce should be recognized as valid in Ontario
– A copy of the divorce decree or annulment in English or French. If the copy is translated to English or French, you’ll need to provide a sworn affidavit by a certified translator

Valid Marriage Licence

Before you get married, you’ll need a valid marriage licence. A marriage licence is valid for three months from the date it is issued – so don’t get this too early before your ceremony!

The marriage licence is what you, your future spouse, the marriage officiant and witnesses will sign after the ceremony. To get a marriage licence, you’ll need to:
– complete a marriage licence application form
– provide 2 pieces of government issued IDs for each person getting married (one of these pieces of ID must have a picture)
– provide any required supporting documentation if you have previously been divorced
– have at least one of you attend in person to pick up the licence
– pay a fee

Check your local municipality for exact fees and whether you can submit your marriage licence application form online via ServiceOntario.

Marriage Ceremony

Before you get married, make sure the person performing your ceremony is an authorized officiant!

Who can perform a legal marriage ceremony?
Registered Marriage Officiants
– Ontario Municipal Clerk
– Judge, Associate Judge, or Justice of the Peace

Get your Marriage Certificate

Before you can get a marriage certificate, your marriage needs to be registered by your officiant with Service Ontario. This takes about 6-8 weeks and then you can order your marriage certificate.

Your marriage certificate is a legal record of your marriage. You may need a copy of your marriage licence to:
– show legal proof you are married
– apply for certain social benefits
– settle an estate
– change a last name
– assume a last name after getting married

FAQs about getting married

What is a bann?

Banns are religious documents that are only available if both parties are getting married for the first time. Banns are an alternative to a marriage licence provided by your religious organization.

Am I eligible for a reduced marriage licence fee?

You may be eligible to have the $75 provincial marriage licence fee waived if both of you are registered, or are entitled to be registered, under Canada’s Indian Act and both reside in Ontario on reserve or Crown lands. If you both meet the eligibility requirements, you can complete and submit the Affidavit to Waive Provincial Fee for a Marriage Licence form.

Do I need to change my last name?

Not if you don’t want to! If you do, you have two options: legally change your last name or just assume a last name after you get married. Find out more here: ServiceOntario’s Guide to Changing your last name

Take a proactive step before you get married and contact Angrove Law to help with your prenuptial agreement!

External Source: Marriage Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.M.3

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