NOTARY OFFICES: Essential services does not mean that it is mandatory for notary offices to remain open, it allows it. Consult the strict standards to protect the public.
REMOTE NOTARIAL DEED: Since April 1st, notaries are allowed to sign a notarized document remotely. This is not compulsory and notaries are free to use this additional tool or not. Thank you for your patience as delays due to the implementation of the solution in the notaries’ offices may occur. Consult the steps and application procedures.
CHAMBRE DES NOTAIRES OFFICES: The Chamber's offices are open, but due to the circumstances related to the coronavirus some services are offered remotely. Additional delays apply for requests for searches in Registers of Testamentary Dispositions and Mandates, as well as for requests for a Certificate of Quality and Authenticity. However, the analysis of all new applications for financial assistance is suspended until further notice.


Home > Families and Couples > Marriage, civil union and common law union > What are the requirements for civil union or civil marriage?

What are the requirements for civil union or civil marriage?

Civil and religious marriages and civil unions each have their own requirements related to age, capacity, marital status, family relationship, officiant and publication of notices.

The prerequisites: age, marital status and identity
Before a civil marriage or civil union ceremony, the officiating notary must make sure that both intended spouses have reached the required age of 16 for a civil marriage and 18 for a civil union. For civil marriage, if either spouse is younger than 18, the notary must obtain the consent of the person with parental authority or the tutor.

The notary must also verify that the intended spouses are free of any previous marital or civil union ties, unless they are already in a civil union with each other. If they were married or in a civil union, that union must first be dissolved by death, divorce, a judgment of dissolution or a joint declaration of dissolution before a notary for a civil union or an annulment for a marriage or civil union. Note that a judgment of separation from bed and board does not end a marriage. A judgment of divorce must be obtained before a legally married person can remarry. The notary must ask the intended spouses for their required proofs of identity and marital status before the marriage.

Publication of the marriage or civil union
As a marriage or civil union must be celebrated "publicly," a notice of marriage or of civil union must be published on the website of the Directeur de l’état civil  (by filling the form Application for publication or for a dispensation from publication of a notice of marriage or civil union) 20 days preceding the scheduled solemnization date. Note that if the marriage or civil union is not solemnized within three months following the twentieth day of publication, the officiant must file a new application for publication. Moreover, if the compulsory information in a notice contains an error (for example, if the name of one of the future spouses or civil union partners is misspelled), the officiant must file a new application for publication. This type of "publication" replaces the traditional "reading the banns." An exemption from publication can be obtained for serious cause. If the spouses are already joined together in a civil union, however, it is not necessary to publish a notice of marriage.

The witness or witnesses
The notice of marriage is prepared at a meeting with the notary, and at this time, the intended spouses must be accompanied by a witness of legal age known to the couple. This witness does not have to be one of the witnesses at the ceremony itself, but he or she must know both intended spouses. Otherwise two witnesses are required. The role of the witness at this meeting is to attest to the accuracy of the information in the notice of marriage (names, dates and places of birth for the intended spouses). Meetings with your officiating notary are also good opportunities to discuss your choice of matrimonial regime by marriage or civil union contract. In Québec, marriage and civil union contracts must be notarized to be valid.