There are many ways we can help you with your adoption, depending on your needs. In many cases, more than one lawyer is required so that each party can receive the required independent legal advice before consenting.
Step-parent or relative adoptions
If a child under 18 is being adopted by a step-parent or a relative the process is less complicated than in other adoptions, although the process still involves a lot of paperwork. Our firm will work with your family to get you the adoption order as efficiently as possible.
Even when we are not preparing the adoption application we will meet with the parties who need legal advice before they can consent. Spouses and/or birth parents almost always have to consent to an adoption. In some cases children must also consent. Our lawyers will meet with you to provide the information and advice you need to make this important decision.
If it is a child who is being asked to consent to the adoption Marian Gage, who works on the panel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, will meet with the child to provide the required information in an age-appropriate way. If the child consents to the adoption then she and the child will sign the necessary forms together.
If you have any questions about adoption please contact us.
For more information about adoption in Ontario please go to the Ministry of Children and Youth website
Validation of Marriage
From time to time, the question of the validity of a marriage arises, often in the context of a separation or divorce but sometimes because of some irregularity in the solemnization of marriage.
The solemnization of marriage in Ontario is governed by The Marriage Act , which sets out the rules for the proper solemnization of marriage. It is very important to ensure that the person who solemnizes your marriage is a registered Officiant.
Issues of the validity of marriage are very rare. Some instances of when issues of the validity of a marriage arise are:
When parties have held a religious ceremony only and have not registered a civil union;
There was some irregularity in the marriage ceremony and despite the registration of a civil union, the marriage is not property acknowledged by the Registrar of Ontario.
In general, if a marriage was solemnized in good faith, and intended to be in compliance with the Marriage Act, the parties resided together as a married couple and neither party is under a legal disqualification to contract marriage, a marriage shall be deemed to be valid notwithstanding other irregularities.
If you have attempted to order a Marriage Certificate from the Government of Ontario but been advised the marriage is under investigation, your marriage may be subject to a procedural irregularity that is relatively simply to fix.
Alternatively, receiving your property settlement upon separation and divorce may turns on the validation or deeming of a marriage, because only married couples are subject to the division of property laws provided for by the Family Law Act and if you have married in a religious ceremony and never registered your marriage as a civil union, you may require your marriage to be validated by the judge presiding over your divorce.
Susan Berry is an expert in the area of the validation of marriage, having dealt with the issue with some frequency. She will work with you to obtain an order from an Ontario Court pursuant to the Marriage Act and the Rules of Civil Procedure to deem your marriage valid.
Foreign Divorce Opinion Letters
If you’re looking to get married in Ontario and you were divorced in another jurisdiction then the Ministry of the Attorney General requires a written legal opinion confirming that the divorce is valid. You will need this to obtain your Ontario marriage certificate.
We will provide your opinion letter and anything else you need to help you with your marriage in Ontario.
For information on the requirements for an Ontario marriage certificate please go to this link:
Travel Consent Letters
Even parents who are married to each other must provide their consent if a child is travelling outside of Canada without both parents. It is not enough to show proof that only the travelling parent has custody of the children. If one parent, or another adult, is travelling with children outside of the country they may be asked for proof of both parents’ consent. Be prepared and carry a consent letter every time you travel.
We can review or prepare your travel consent letter, or we can simply notarize the signature of the non-travelling parent. Click here for the Government of Canada sample consent letter.Click here for more information about travelling outside Canada with children.
Commissioning Oaths and Notarizations
A commissioner for taking affidavits can take affidavits and administer other legal oaths, affirmations or declarations within or outside Ontario, as governed by the Commissioner for Taking Affidavits Act.
A notary public has all the powers of a commissioner for taking affidavits, and can also verify that signatures, marks and copies of documents are true or genuine. Notaries public are governed by the Notaries Act. When we commission or notarize documents we are not providing legal advice with respect to the contents of the document.
Our lawyers and some of our staff are qualified to act as Commissioners of Oath and Notaries Public for the province of Ontario as governed by the Notaries Act.
We charge $25.00 per document.