Conditions of marriage

To make your marriage valid, you and your intended spouse must meet certain conditions. 

The conditions concern:

  • your age;
  • the family relationship between you;
  • your matrimonial status;
  • the giving of consent.

You are also required to be present at the ceremony.

Legal age for marriage

You must be at least 18 years old to marry.

However, you may apply to the courts for authorization to marry at the age of 16 or 17.

Family relationship and marriage

Marriage is prohibited between close relatives for moral and physiological reasons. As a result, you cannot marry a person who is your:

  • brother or sister; 
  • half-brother or half-sister;
  • parent or child.

This rule applies to both biological and adoptive relatives. 

However, you can marry certain other relatives, such as:

  • your cousin;
  • a person who is related to you by marriage only, such as the former spouse of your uncle or aunt, your former brother-in-law, or your former mother-in-law.

Freedom from any bond or marriage or civil union

To marry or form a civil union, you must be free from any bond of marriage or civil union. 

To ensure that your proposed marriage or civil union is legal, you must be:

  • single; 
  • divorced, or; 
  • widowed.

You are considered to be single if you have obtained:

  • the annulment of a previous marriage; 
  • the annulment or dissolution of a previous civil union. 

Proof of civil status 

During the interview with your officiant, you and your intended spouse must provide certain documents, including those that prove your civil status.

Free and enlightened consent

To marry, you must be able to give your free and enlightened consent. This means that you must agree to the marriage:

  • without being forced to marry by constraints or threats;
  • with a full understanding of the effects of your commitment.

If you or your intended spouse do not meet this condition, any interested person may oppose your marriage or request its annulment.

Presence at your marriage ceremony

Whatever your situation, you must be present at your marriage ceremony. Proxy marriages are prohibited in Québec. This means that you cannot give a close friend or relative a mandate to act in your place at the marriage ceremony.

As a result, you are the only person who, at the ceremony, can:

  • consent to the marriage, when asked by the officiant;
  • sign the declaration of marriage.

The officiant is required to verify your identity.

Last update: April 6, 2023


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