What happens in Vegas … doesn’t always stay in Vegas!

A few years ago, a lovely young man contacted me in a bit of a bind.  He was engaged to the girl of his dreams and planning a big wedding.  Only problem was that he had already gotten married in Vegas to a friend of his a few years prior!

He called me to find out if the Vegas marriage was valid – since they were drunk and never lived together afterwards – because he really didn’t want to have to break the news to his fiancé that he was already “kinda” married.

After asking him a few questions and establishing that he did in fact get legally married in Vegas, it became clear that the hard reality was that his marriage to his friend in Vegas was considered a valid marriage in Canada.  I wish I could have told the young man something different, but – whether or not it is Elvis, the captain of a ship, or a person who was ordained over the internet – if they are qualified to perform marriages in the location you are getting married in …. You. Are. Married.

Some countries require the marriage to be registered in their jurisdiction in order for the marriage to be recognized in their jurisdiction.  Canada is not one of these jurisdictions.  A marriage is recognized as long as you meet the requirements of the jurisdiction in which you got married … and unfortunately dumb and drunk are not bars to marriage in Vegas … or so I’ve been told.

Because he had married his friend but never lived with her (or consummated the marriage according to him) our unfortunate friend would have been able to have the marriage annulled if he had made an application within a small window of time.  However it had been well over two years by the time he contacted us, so annulment was not an option.

In these situations, we can complete a quick divorce for you, provided you have a marriage certificate and you can still locate your “spouse”.  These types of divorces are usually uncontested and called “desk order divorces” because everything is done by filing paperwork as opposed to appearing in court.

If you have a divorce where there are no outstanding issues other than getting a divorce, you can obtain one of these divorces.  The process takes about 3 – 6 months and we usually charge a flat fee for them based on whether or not there are children of the relationship.  If you find yourself in a situation like the one I mentioned above, or just want to finalize your divorce and there are no other issues to deal with – call us to discuss how we can help you obtain a desk order divorce.

Oh … and one more thing … after you get one of these divorces … you are really divorced too.  So if you plan on remarrying – you need to disclose this divorce on your next  application for a marriage licence.

Paule Seeger B.A. LLB

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