Canada family law dispute: Parent marrying a much younger person

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

It’s sometimes known as predatory marriage. And it has likely been the contentious issue of many a family law dispute in Canada. The issue involves one person marrying another person who is much younger in age. For instance, when someone’s mother has died and her widower eventually marries a woman decades younger. Most family members don’t look favourably on these kinds of situations and such a union could cause all kinds of problems within the extended family dynamic.

Tensions can run particularly high if a parent who marries someone younger makes changes to his or her will right away, leaving the bulk of his or her estate to the new spouse. What can children and/or grandchildren do if they believe the person who married their loved one did so for possible financial gain? Unless it can be proved that their loved one was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage or when making changes to a will, there is little that can be done. In any case, in most provinces when someone marries or remarries, any existing will becomes null and void anyway.

Statistics Canada indicates that by 2030, one in four persons in Canada will be 65 years of age or older. The reference of predatory marriages is usually used in those cases where someone is being accused of taking advantage of an elderly individual who may have cognitive problems. The question the courts will seek to answer, should the situation get to that stage, is whether the person had the capacity to marry?

When disputes arise under the family law umbrella, it might be wise for residents in Canada to seek the counsel of a lawyer experienced in family law. Marriage and divorce laws can be complicated. The advice of a lawyer on how to proceed in certain sticky situations would likely be helpful.

Source:, “???Predatory marriage??? likely to grow with aging population”, Jon Cook, Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017

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