Civil Marriage in Quebec
Civil Marriage in Montreal / Wedding in Quebec – Some brief data
Percentage of wedding / civil marriages out of all marriages in Quebec: Since its introduction in 1969, the percentage has risen from 2% that year to 64% today.
Same-sex marriages in Quebec: Since March 19, 2004, it has been possible for same-sex couples to marry.
Celebration of the first civil marriage: May 2, 1969
Legal age for marriage: 18 years old
Legal age for a civil union: 16 years old
Civil marriage and religious marriage in Quebec in Montreal: how are they similar? How do they differ?
Effects and obligations of the spouses by law: the same
Procedure: similar, including the reading during the ceremony of articles 392 to 396 of the Civil Code in the presence of two witnesses. The declaration of marriage is signed and sent by mail to the Directeur de l’état civil du Québec.
Place of the ceremony: for religious marriages, a place of worship but not necessarily. For civil marriages: courthouse, city hall or any other place that respects the solemnity of the ceremony and is set up for this purpose.
Acceptance by the officiant:
A civil officiant cannot refuse to marry you if you meet the conditions for getting married in Quebec. A religious officiant may refuse to marry you if your union goes against the principles of the religion (same-sex marriage, interfaith marriage, etc.)
How much does a civil wedding or civil marriage cost?
The price of a civil wedding or civil marriage in Quebec, in Montreal varies greatly. It depends on the type of celebration (intimate or with many guests), the location, the program, etc. The cost can therefore range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
The price of the officiant notary or une day celebrant / marriage officiant generally varies from $300 to $1000 depending on his or her experience and the timing of the civil wedding.
To this amount, it will be necessary to add the cost of the wedding rings, the bride and groom’s outfits, the photographer, the reception hall, if applicable, etc…
These expenses are not mandatory. Also, more intimate weddings are done nowadays. It is therefore quite possible, and increasingly common, to get married for $1000 or less.
How to get married or have a civil union in Quebec?
A small and simplified overview:
1) You must first choose your officiant, for example: – your mother; – a notary; – a clerk.
2) You must then meet with the officiant and your spouse to set the date of your union. At this time, make sure that the officiant is authorized to perform a marriage or civil union. One way to do this is to ask him or her to show you the authorization document issued by the Directeur de l’état civil (DEC). You can also check whether he or she is authorized to celebrate your union on the day you have chosen by consulting the DEC’s register of officiants. Your officiant will take care of the other administrative procedures for your marriage or civil union.
3) Choose your place of marriage or civil union
4) Choose witnesses
The location of a wedding/civil marriage in Quebec
You may be married in the location of your choice as long as it:
- Respects the solemnity of the ceremony;
- Is set up for this purpose;
- Corresponds to the place where your officiant is authorized to marry you.
The moment of the ceremony
When do you want to get married? Depending on the location of your wedding, there are certain constraints to consider when choosing the time of the ceremony.
If you are marrying your spouse at the courthouse, we invite you to contact the courthouse to find out the days and times of celebration, since these may vary according to the judicial district.
Please note that your marriage performed by a clerk or deputy clerk of the Superior Court or in a courthouse cannot be performed on certain holidays:
- January 1st and 2nd;
- Good Friday;
- Easter Monday;
- June 24, National Holiday;
- July 1st, Anniversary of Confederation;
- First Monday in September, Labour Day;
- Second Monday in October;
- December 24, 25, 26 and 31;
- The day fixed by proclamation of the Governor General to mark the birthday of the Sovereign;
- Such other day as may be fixed by order of the Government as a public holiday or day of Thanksgiving.
During your interview, the officiant will confirm the time and date of the ceremony.
Weddings at other locations than the courthouse in Montreal, Quebec
If you are getting married at a location other than the courthouse, the ceremony must take place between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the day of your choice.
However, if a clerk or deputy clerk is marrying you, you must keep the same schedule as if you were marrying your spouse at the courthouse.
The officiant will agree with you on the date and time of the ceremony.
If you wish to get married in front of a notary, you may choose to do so at his office or in a room made available to you for the ceremony. Montreal Wedding Ceremony Halls – Montreal Civil Marriage Notary (notaire-mariage-civil.ca) In this sense, the choice of location, date and officiant are intimately linked.
Timeframe for a civil marriage. Why is there a minimum of 21 days?
Because the law requires future spouses or civil union partners to make public their intention to marry or to enter a civil union.
What documents are required for a civil marriage in Quebec?
Publication of a notice of marriage or civil union
The publication of a notice of marriage or civil union on the website of the Directeur de l’état civil of Quebec is therefore especially important. Failure to do so without an exemption being granted could result in the nullity of the marriage or civil union. However, no publication is required when two people want to get married and are already in a civil union.
It should be noted that, when receiving a request for publication of a notice of marriage or civil union, the Directeur de l’état civil of Quebec ensures that the officiant is competent.
A notice of marriage or civil union must contain the name and domicile address of each of the future spouses or civil union spouses as well as the year and place of their birth, the name and capacity of the officiant, the date scheduled for the celebration and the address of the place of celebration. The accuracy of the information is attested to by a witness of legal age.
All notices of marriage or civil union must be published on the website of the Directeur de l’état civil for 20 days prior to the date of the celebration. It should be noted that if the marriage or civil union is not celebrated within three months following the 20th day of publication, the officiant must reapply for publication. In addition, if there is an error in the mandatory information required in a notice (for example, in the name of one of the future spouses or civil union partners), the officiant must proceed with a new request for publication.
If the date or place for the celebration of a marriage or civil union changes, the officiant must ask the Directeur de l’état civil to modify the notice of publication. However, the 20-day publication period and the obligation to hold the celebration within three months of the expiry of this period must still be respected.
Documents that will be required for a civil marriage / civil wedding in Quebec
To have the marriage notice published, the following documents are required.
- Original birth certificates of both spouses – for those born in Quebec, the document is issued by the office of the Directeur de l’état civil;
- Two pieces of valid official identification, one of which must include a photo and signature (e.g., driver’s license, passport, or health insurance card);
- A document that proves your residence: driver’s license, bill, bank statement, etc;
- Divorce certificate (or final divorce decree), if applicable;
- Original death certificate of the previous spouse, if applicable;
If one of the future spouses was not born in Quebec and his or her documents are written in a language other than French or English, the original documents should be accompanied by an official translation by a member of the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec.
Once this information has been collected and validated by an adult witness, the notary can publish the notice of marriage on the website of the Directeur d’état civil.
Receive your marriage certificate
It is important to note that for a civil status document to be issued in relation to a birth, marriage, civil union or death, this event must first be registered in the Civil Status Registry of Quebec. It is only once the registration is made that it is possible to process an application for a certificate, a copy of an act or an attestation concerning this event. It is the role of the notary to ensure that your union is registered with the Civil Registry of Quebec.
As soon as this is done, you will receive a communication from the Directeur de l’État civil du Québec advising you that your marriage has been registered in the Québec civil status register and inviting you to submit your request to obtain your marriage certificate or act, either online at the register of civil status of Québec, or in person, by going to a regional service point of Services Québec or to a service counter of the Directeur de l’État civil.
The Marriage Contract:
The marriage contract is a written legal document in which you and your spouse have made various decisions. In fact, this document specifies, among other things
- Your matrimonial regime, i.e., the rules according to which your assets, other than the assets included in the family patrimony, will be managed during your marriage, and divided after your separation, if applicable;
- Your gifts, which are gifts you make to your spouse or children during your lifetime or after your death;
- Your death arrangements, including the “Last to Die” clause.
You and your spouse can enter a marriage contract before the celebration of your union. However, you can also enter a marriage contract after the union. In this case, your marriage contract comes into effect when you sign it instead of on the day you get married.
The marriage contract must be notarized. This means that you and your spouse must sign it before a notary.
In addition, the notary must register a notice of your marriage contract in the Register of Personal and Movable Real Rights (RPMRR).
An experienced notary such as Me Lincà can provide you with legal advice in your decision on the matrimonial regime. In Quebec, there are three regimes: partnership of acquests, separation of property and community of property. Whichever regime you choose, you must respect the legal provisions governing: the family patrimony; the family residence; and the exercise of parental authority. For more information on the choices available to you Notary Lincà.
Choice of an officiant for your civil marriage/wedding
For your civil marriage to be valid, it must take place before a legally recognized officiant authorized to perform marriages. This requirement applies to all marriages, whether civil or religious. If not, your marriage will not be recognized by law.
To be sure, you can consult the registry of officiants of the Directeur de l’état civil.
If your marriage is civil, your officiant may be:
- A clerk or deputy clerk of the Superior Court;
- A notary public
- A mayor;
- A member of city council or borough council;
- A city official.
You may also ask a relative or friend to perform your marriage ceremony. However, first make sure that the person meets certain requirements.
The advantage of choosing a notary for your civil marriage ceremony in Quebec
For personalized legal advice: By choosing a notary public to perform your civil marriage, you will receive personalized legal advice on matrimonial regimes and the legal consequences of marriage. Other types of civil marriage officiants, such as court clerks or family members, cannot provide you with this type of expert advice. If your situation requires it, the notary can also draw up a marriage contract for you.
More flexible hours than at the courthouse: The officiating notary is also flexible as to the date of the celebration compared to the hours and days when a clerk can marry you.
Faster turnaround time: Get married in as little as 21 days!
The place of celebration of your civil marriage in Quebec can be chosen with the officiating notary.
For the experience of the officiant
A notary like Me Lincà has many years of experience in the celebration of civil marriages in Quebec. His experience counts for a lot in the service that is offered to you. You do not get married every day. Have your civil wedding celebrated by an experienced officiant who will offer you a personalized and complete service.
Let us summarize the process of a civil wedding ceremony
The ceremony of your civil marriage can be surrounded by your personalized touch to reflect your tastes and your convictions: music, readings, exchange of vows, etc. However, there are some formalities to respect:
The wedding must be performed before a competent officiant and in the presence of at least two witnesses.
The officiant must read to the spouses, in front of the witnesses, certain articles of the Civil Code of Quebec on the rights and obligations of spouses. The reading must be done in French or English. If one of the spouses does not understand either of these two languages, they must request the services of an interpreter at their expense. This interpreter cannot be a member of their immediate family.
After the reading of these articles, the officiant receives the exchange of consent of the spouses, which must also be done in French or English, and declares them united in marriage.
Finally, the officiant signs and has the spouses and two witnesses sign the declaration of marriage, which will serve as written proof of the marriage. This declaration is sent to the Registrar of Civil Status by the officiant within 30 days of the celebration. The Registrar of Civil Status then draws up the official marriage certificate. If the spouses wish to obtain a copy of this official act, they must apply to the registrar of civil status.