The world is shrinking rapidly and travel has become much easier. People migrate in search of better career prospects, living and economic conditions, safety and freedom.
Simply walking down a Toronto street brings home the concepts of globalization and multi-culturalism. People from different countries and race, speaking different languages and coming from different socio-economic backgrounds and religious faiths have found ways to live in peace and harmony.
Many of them adopt Canadian citizenship but may keep their original citizenship for a variety of reasons – practical and sentimental. Canada has allowed dual citizenship since February 14, 1977.
When a marriage breaks down and ends in divorce, there are numerous issues and challenges. Property-division, child-support and custody, spousal support/alimony, etc can be difficult to handle. Cross-border marriages create their own set of issues. An experienced family lawyer, divorce lawyer or separation lawyer can assist you with the right advice and information. This ensures that the process remains swift, smooth and hassle-free.
Each nation can independently decide who can be a citizen of that country. When someone has dual citizenship, it means that they are recognized as a citizen in two countries. Having the citizenship of one country does not prevent you from having citizenship of the other. Not all countries in the world recognize this. In fact, most countries require you to give up your original citizenship if you want to become a citizen of another country.
Countries have their own laws establishing the criteria required to become a citizen. In certain countries, being born there entitles you to automatic citizenship. Other ways of acquiring it include:
- applying for citizenship
- extensive period of residence in that country
- family members in that country
- marriage to a citizen of that country
Divorce and Dual Citizenship
People with dual citizenship have to abide by the laws of both countries. Usually, divorce applications are filed in the country where the couple resides ordinarily. However, there may be certain problems regarding child rights, financial arrangements and property-division.
An experienced divorce lawyer can provide couples with the right information. This includes:
- Regulations regarding grounds for divorce in both countries
- Accessing, completing and filing all the necessary paperwork
- Individual rights in each country, including women’s rights
- Definition of marital property and division of it
- Responsibility for paying child-support
- Determining the amount of child-support payable
- Decisions regarding child-custody (In some countries women are favored/disfavored in child-custody decisions)
- Visitation problems if the couple separates and lives in different countries
- Spousal support and how it can be enforced
- Will remarriage be recognized?
- Tax problems in both countries following property-division
- Financial aspects of seeking divorce in one country and not the other
- Disparity in court procedures in both countries
It’s crucial that you consult an experienced divorce lawyer who is familiar with the divorce laws of both countries. When children are involved, there are additional concerns about their safety, risk of being “kidnapped” by the other parent to his/her own country in case of a hostile divorce etc.