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Getting Married
Walter Drescher
Walter Drescher

Getting Married? There are a few things you will need to know. In most cases, if you are being married in a religious or civil ceremony, you need to get a marriage licence. However, if you are being married in a religious ceremony, you may be eligible to be married by a publication of banns (making an announcement of the details of your intent to marry in your church, mosque or synagogue). You can apply for a marriage licence for a fee at the municipal offices in your city, town, village or township if there is a license issuer, or you can download the Marriage Licence Application Form and bring it with you to your nearest municipal office. You must do so in person. Make sure you and your partner bring identification, such as a birth certificate (along with any change of name certificates), current passport, Record of Immigrant Landing or Canadian citizenship card and photo ID to prove your current legal name and age. The marriage licence is valid anywhere in Ontario for three months from the date of purchase. If the licence expires, you will have to purchase another one. You must be at least 18 years old to be married in Ontario by licence or under the authority of the publication of banns. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may marry if you have the written consent of both parents. Other restrictions may apply. If you are getting married in Ontario, you may have a religious marriage or a civil marriage. A religious marriage is performed by an official of a recognized religion who has received authorization from the Office of the Registrar General to perform marriages in Ontario. The marriage can be solemnized under the authority of a marriage licence or the publication of banns, depending on the religious body. A civil marriage may be performed by an Ontario judge, justice of the peace or a municipal clerk under the authority of a marriage licence. Each municipality will set its own fees and can even offer civil marriage services. If you plan on serving or selling alcohol at your wedding reception, you will need a Special Occasion Permit from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). When you get married outside of Ontario, your marriage won't be registered in the province. You may need to purchase a licence from the place where you get married. Check with the Vital Statistics Office in the province or territory in Canada where you want to get married. If you are getting married in another country, check with the Canadian representative there. You may need to prove that you are not currently married and you may be required to apply for a marriage search letter. In many places, this letter is commonly referred to as a Letter of Non-Impediment. This letter only confirms whether or not a marriage is registered for you in Ontario. If you were divorced in Canada, you must bring the original or court-certified copy of the final decree, final judgment or certificate of divorce to your local municipal office when you are purchasing the marriage licence. If you were divorced outside of Canada, you must obtain authorization from the Ministry of Government Services before you can purchase a marriage licence. Immediately after the marriage ceremony, the couple may receive a Record of Solemnization of Marriage from the person who performed the ceremony. This document includes the couple's names, the date of the marriage, the names of the witnesses and whether the marriage was performed under the authority of a licence or the publication of banns. This is not a marriage certificate or a legal record. You still need a marriage certificate. The person who performed the marriage must forward a completed and signed marriage licence to the Office of the Registrar General for registration. The marriage must be registered before you may apply for a marriage certificate. A marriage certificate may be obtained by: * the bride or groom * a parent of either the bride or the groom *a child of their marriage (natural or adoptive) If either the bride or groom is deceased, their children or parents may obtain a certified copy of the marriage registration. There is no restriction on the number of marriage certificates a person may apply for and receive. You do not have to get a legal name change to use your partner's name as your last name. Instead, you can assume your partner's name. Assuming a name is not a legal name change, so it does not change your birth certificate. Most people assume a name instead of undergoing a legal name change.

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