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Did you know that marriage and immigration do not always go together?

For her 45th birthday, Amina decides to treat herself to a solo trip to Tunisia. Besides visiting the Medina of Tunis and exploring the Sahara Desert, she also gets to know some lovely people. One evening, Amina meets Hassen, who is 34 years old. Hassen makes Amina happy; he makes her feel young and beautiful again. He makes her discover the best parts of the country and says that he has always dreamed of living “in America”. At the end of her stay, they exchange addresses and promise to keep in touch. Upon her return to Canada, Amina receives passionate emails from Hassen. After four months of exchanges, he asks her to marry him, adding that he firmly believes in marriage. Amina is quite surprised. She does not want to rush into anything: Hassen is also the father of a little boy.

Two months later, realizing that they have been in uninterrupted communication for six months, Amina decides to return to Tunisia to visit her prince charming. Hassen is kind, caring and considerate. Amina is in love. She says she will seriously consider his proposal. Hassen says that he wants to leave Tunisia, where he sees no future. Amina promises to be back. A few weeks later, Amina agrees to marry Hassen and confirms this in an email. She gathers all the necessary documents for the marriage in Tunisia, immigration procedures and sponsorship. The wedding takes place in the fall and Amina pays all the expenses. Unfortunately, the sponsorship application is not completed and Amina ends up making three more trips to Tunisia. Hassen is still an affectionate gentleman. Six months later, all the steps are completed and Hassen finally arrives in Canada. Surprise! On these shores, Hassen turns out a different man, who spends his days on the phone, has an authoritarian temperament and expects Amina to take care of everything. A few months later, Hassan receives his permanent resident card. The next day, Amina comes home to an empty apartment: Hassen is gone.

Did you know that marriage and immigration do not always go together? The exchange of spouses’ consent is central to the institution of marriage. For a marriage to be valid, a true exchange of consent, free of defects, is required. When one of the spouses fools the other, then we speak of a consent vitiated by error. Given that it is clear that Hassen never wanted to live with Amina, that he used her to come to Canada and that decamped as soon as he received his permanent residence, the marriage will likely be annulled and Amina could claim damages for the expenses she incurred for Hassen’s immigration. Consequently, no division of property will occur. Even in love, the heart has its own reasons, of which reason knows nothing.

If you face such a situation or need further advice, you should consult a lawyer.