Using marriage as a ticket into Canada.

Q&A By John T. Syrtash, Associate, Garfin Zeidenberg LLP, a Toronto family law lawyer for the past 38 years.


Question: I am a Canadian Citizen. I sponsored my newly wedded husband to come to Canada. Within two months, he split, and I’m heartbroken. Do I have to wait one year to get divorced? Am I on the hook for him if he goes on

Answer: You have to wait one year of separation until a court can grant a divorce judgment. However, you can commence your divorce action at any time within the year. This is important since when the one year is over by starting the action early, you will save about two months waiting time in the process. Secondly, when you sponsored your husband to come to Canada, you signed a contract with the taxpayers that id he goes into welfare, you are on the hook to repay what he took from the public purse. So start praying that he doesn’t go on public assistance. There are a growing number of cases where both men and women (equally women) pretend to marry a Canadian citizen. Then shortly after getting landed immigrant status and arriving in Canada, they leave the marriage. They deceive their partners and Canada immigration by using the marriage as a vehicle to short circuit the immigration application process. The result is heartbreaking for those Canadians who truly thought they’d met their match, sort of like Puccini’s Madam

Butterfly in reverse. Women are often emotionally or even physically abused and then abandoned by such phony immigrants. Men often spend large sums on mail-order type brides and then find that the woman had not the slightest intention in continuing with the relationship. By victims reporting such cases, the RCMP and Canadian Immigration is beginning to successfully prosecute such individuals.

John Syrtash is an associate and family law lawyer with the Toronto firm of GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP.

Neither GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP nor John Syrtash is liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material,
presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.

John T. Syrtash, Associate
Yonge-Norton Centre
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 6P4
Direct (416) 886-0359
Fax: (416) 512-9992

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