My Husband Sponsored Me and We Have Now Separated

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

If your spouseUnder the ''Divorce Act'', either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the ''Family Law Act'', married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship." sponsored you and you have separated, you have the right to remain in Canada as long as you are a permanent resident or a citizen.

Before April 28, 2017 some permanent resident status was conditional. A conditional permanent resident was required to live with their sponsor for 2 years. As of April 28, 2017 the Government of Canada has eliminated this condition. This change applies to anyone who was subject to this condition as well as persons sponsored in the future.

If you are a permanent resident immigration officials cannot ask you to leave Canada if you separate from your spouse unless they believe the marriage was not genuine.

What if I'm not a permanent resident?

If you are not a permanent resident and you want to remain in Canada, you may do one of two things:


First steps

  1. Get help from a lawyerA person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor." or a settlementA resolution of one or more issues in a court proceeding or legal dispute with the agreement of the parties to the proceeding or dispute, usually recorded in a written agreement or in an order that all parties agree the court should make. A court proceeding can be settled at any time before the conclusion of trial. See "action," "consent order," "family law agreements" and "offer." or community agency:
    • If you cannot afford a lawyer, apply for legal aid. See legal aid representation in the Resource List. To get legal aid you must be financially eligible and your case must have a reasonable chance of success.
    • If you do not qualify for legal aid, contactA term under the ''Family Law Act'' that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities." an immigration settlement agency. See Sponsorship Breakdown for a list of community workers and settlement agencies, or use the WelcomeBC Settlement Services Map].
    • Contact the YWCA Single Mothers Without Legal Status In Canada Project.
    • Contact the Law Students' Legal Advice Program] if you live in the Lower Mainland.
    • Pay for a lawyer or immigration consultant.
  2. If you have a childA person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority.", get legal advice. See I just separated from the other parent of my children.
  3. If you fear returning to your country, get legal advice about how to apply for refugee status. See the section I want to claim refugee status in Canada.
  4. If you were sponsored by your husband and the sponsorship application was not completed when you separated, get legal advice. You may be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian or compassionate grounds. For information, see A Guide to Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications (H&C Applications).
  5. If your spouse is no longer supporting you see the resource titled Sponsorship Breakdown.

Unless you already have a work permit, you are not entitled to work in Canada while an H&C application is under consideration until you have been "approved in principle."

Where to get help

See the Resource List in this guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Rochelle Appleby, May 2017.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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