In Alberta, marriage is recognized as an equal partnership between two persons, resulting in duties and responsibilities to each other. From the very moment you and your partner become married, the law imposes a liability upon each of you to maintain the other, and any children of the marriage, in certain circumstances. The law also creates mutual rights and liabilities with regard to any property each of you may own. Maintenance and support provisions, as well as a division of matrimonial property, are provided to offer economic protection to the financially disadvantaged spouse upon the breakdown of the marriage.
Same-sex marriage has been legal across Canada since 2005 and the rules that apply to same-sex marriages upon separation or divorce are in most cases the same to those of married couples of the opposite sex (see LGBT rights section for more information).
To have a valid marriage in Alberta, you must comply with certain rules. In order to enter a legal marriage, the parties must be at least eighteen years old (or sixteen with a parent’s consent), must be outside the prohibited degrees of relationship (you may not marry close relatives, whether by whole blood, half blood, or by adoption), must not be lawfully married to anyone else, must freely consent to the marriage (that is, there is no fraud, duress, mistake about the nature of the ceremony or the identity of the other partner, or insanity), and must have the capacity at the time of the ceremony to consummate the marriage. The court may dispense with parental consent to a marriage where the female under the age of sixteen is certified by a physician to be pregnant or is the mother of a living child.
You must purchase a marriage license, which is valid for three months. This means that a minister or a marriage commissioner must perform the ceremony within three months. Marriage licenses are available from any registry agent in Alberta including Vital Statistics and Alberta Motor Association offices.