SERVICE NOVA SCOTIA: Changes to the Marriage Act come into effect May 1

Changes to the Solemnization of Marriage Act, introduced last fall, will come into effect on Tuesday, May 1.

"We are making the act more inclusive and providing enhanced security to couples getting married in Nova Scotia," Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan said in an April 25 announcement.

Marriage licences will now be valid for three months, instead of one year. This change is consistent with how licences are typically used, with over 80 per cent of people getting married within three months of purchasing the licence. It is also consistent with other jurisdictions.

Other changes include:

  • changing the name of the act to the Marriage Act
  • enhancing identity security by requiring both people who wish to marry to complete the marriage licence affidavit needed to get a marriage licence
  • aligning the act with federal legislation by removing the authority for people under the age of 16 to marry
  • removing specific religious references to ensure the act is inclusive of all faiths
  • removing outdated language such as the terms spinster and illegitimate child and adding the term spouse to options for those marrying
  • eliminating the role of the chief judge to recommend justices of the peace for appointment
  • giving the Minister of Service Nova Scotia the authority to prescribe marriage forms.

These changes are part of Service Nova Scotia's ongoing work to modernize its legislation to better meet the needs of Nova Scotians.

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