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How does a divorce affect your citizenship?

Posted on November 10, 2017

Getting a divorce means a lot of things will change. It could mean that you have new financial obligations, or that you will see your kids on a visitation schedule. For those who have recently moved to Canada, there can also be questions about whether or not getting a divorce will impact their immigration status – or if they might have to leave the country.

A citizen holds their passport and wonders what will happen after their divorceHow will divorce affect my status?

Generally speaking, you don’t need to worry about your citizenship, residency or immigration status being influenced by your divorce.

Permanent residents or anyone who has gained citizenship since moving to Canada cannot lose their status or be removed from the country at the end of their marriage. The only situation that could lead to legal issues would be if you are caught lying about your status, the length of time that you have been in the country or other important information relating to your immigration.

Having said that, there may be ongoing sponsorship issues that likewise will not be affected by a separation or divorce.  In some cases, the sponsor may need to be replaced by another citizen (see below).

When can you get a divorce?

If you are newly moved to Canada and are seeking to get a divorce, you are able to apply for a divorce in Canada if you and your spouse have lived in Canada for more than one year.

Resolving a Sponsorship

If your spouse sponsored you to allow you to come into the country, they still have a legal obligation to provide financial support even if the marriage is over. However, this financial support may end if your spouse can prove that they can no longer provide support or they successfully make a case for stopping the support payments.

For all cases, contacting a local family lawyer is the best course of action to help you identify your rights and potential issues. While you likely won’t need to worry about being forced out the country, you will still want to position yourself as best as possible for success after the end of your marriage.

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