Family life

International divorce

At first, this separation seemed better than any other since you did not have to deal with custody issues or to discuss the parameters of what child education should be. However, time goes by and you realize that this separation causes other kinds of worries and they seem more complex. Here are a few examples of problems that may occur and their solutions.

Anything can happen

Of course, things can go many ways. For example, the father can take the time to give you full custody before leaving, he could leave before you give birth or refuse (or forget) to sign the Birth Declaration. If so, even if you have a lot to deal with, like every single mom does, you can find comfort in the fact that you have no legal issues per se, since you are the only parent of your child by law.

Joint divorce

The father of your child may also leave for professional reasons or you may have decided to put an end to your relationship together. If so, maybe you did not think of all the decisions that you will have to make together concerning your child and did not make the arrangements before he left.

If this is the case, you have two options. First, you can scan documents or fax them every time you face a problem. Obviously, this would be a temporary option and even couples that have split up peacefully can lose a bit of good faith when their ex meets someone else. Therefore, I strongly suggest filling in for joint divorce as soon as possible.

Joint divorces are simple and cheap. You will only have to fill in a form, it will simplify your lawyer’s job and you can expect to pay between $700 and $1000 for this type of divorce. Many lawyers specialized in joint divorces can help you; just look up on Internet and you will find one in your area.

Child support

Whether you engage in a joint divorce or a regular divorce, the judge must calculate a spousal maintenance amount. This child support will be determined according to your ex-husband’s salary and your own and you cannot give up on it. It is the law. In Quebec, it is ruled by a new model of child support calculation.

This fact could change your husband’s mind if he was ready to sign. If he has a bad reaction, you will think he is greedy, he will think you tried to trick him and your divorce will no longer be joint. Try to tell him about this at the very beginning of the procedures so that he will never feel cheated.

This amount is calculated to help you as a single mom and if the judge decides that you should receive it, it probably means that you will need it. However, if you split up in bad terms and if your former-husband refuses to pay, it will be impossible for you to have it taken directly from his salary in another country.

However, if the situation escalates, this accumulated child support will be quite a turn-off for an angry ex-husband who has disappeared for several years and suddenly wants to interfere in your family affairs. Therefore, it could help you even if the situation is out of hands.


A regular divorce is more expensive than a joint divorce and if you and your husband do not overly disagree, it could cost between $1500 and $2500. It is important to choose a lawyer carefully and to remember that your first consultation will be billed. Therefore, ask generic questions over the phone or by email to as many lawyers as you can. It is the best way to find one that will cost you a bit less.

Your lawyer will have to prepare documents, determine the parameters of custody and write the documents relative to child support. He will tell you about his strategy during the first appointment so be sure to bring all birth certificates, wedding certificate and any other relevant documentation. Keep in mind that, in order to divorce, you must have lived separately for at least a year or have a reasonable motive (cruelty, adultery, etc.).

Out of sight

If your husband has gone without saying goodbye, your file will be more complicated. Indeed, your husband’s birth certificate and his address are necessary to complete the divorce papers.

Because you will not be able to officially “invite” your husband to your divorce without his address, your lawyer will have to prove to the judge that he published three notices in an official newspaper of the city where your husband supposedly is. This request will cost an extra fee. If you truly have no idea where he is, you will have to use his last known address.

If you do not have his birth certificate and if he was born in another country, it will be hard to obtain. Know that a law adopted in 2008 allows your lawyer to extract it from your wedding file if you were married in Quebec.


Until you have custody, the only document that will be impossible to obtain on your own is a passport, and it will be so until your child turns 16. The passport office requires the signature of both parents to avoid endangering the child and to prevent kidnappings.

Also, even after the passport has been emitted, you will need a consent letter to travel with your child outside of the country. To avoid being stuck at the border, you can ask your lawyer to prepare a certified letter that will confirm the impossibility to reach the father of your child and obtain his signature.


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