If I was married in 2 different locations, how do I go about getting a divorce?

I am a Canadian citizen and my husband is a U.S citizen. We had a court wedding in U.S and then we had a church wedding in Canada. I currently live in Canada and he is in U.S, how do we go about getting a divorce? Do I have to file in Canada and then file another in U.S or would 1 application be sufficient for both countries?

Asked on July 9, 2017 under Family Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

This website answers questions about U.S. law; this answer is written under U.S. law, but to see if something more or different is required under Canadian law, consult a Canadian attorney.
Under U.S. law, you can only be married to one person at a time; and only the first first wedding (if you have more than one to the same person) counts; and a purely religious ceremony which does not also result in a marriage license from a minister or officiant empowered by the state to conduct weddings is legally irrelevant and has no legal effect, and therefore does not need to be dissolved. (In the law's eyes; for what you need to do under the tenants of your faith, speak to a member of your clergy.)
So if the church wedding was "only" a religious ceremony with no civil marriage license or certificate, you can ignore it for legal purposes.
If the church wedding in Canada did result in a marriage certificate, then under U.S. law, the  issue is which occured first: the court wedding or the church wedding. If the court wedding, which appears to be the case from your question, then you only need a divorce for the court marriage, which you would seek under the law of that state.

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