Legal Requirements for Marriage in Australia
So you’ve met the partner of your dreams! Before you rush into elopement plans on a whim 48 hours after you meet each other, or decide to plan the wedding of your dreams, remember, there are legal requirements you should be aware of.
The Legal Stuff
To be legally married in Australia, a person must:
- be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
- not be married to someone else
- understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
- not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
- use specific words during the ceremony
- provide your registered marriage celebrant with written notice of your intention to marry, within the required time frame
- have witnesses over the age of 18 present at your ceremony
I’m here to make sure you understand and meet all of these requirements. I’m also happy to arrange witnesses if you don’t have family or friends attending your ceremony.
You don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website, if you hope to live in Australia after your marriage.
Important Paperwork – Notice of Intended Marriage
- It’s essential that a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form is completed and lodged a least one month before your wedding date.
- What is a NOIM? In short, it’s a super important legal document the government requires and without it, you can not legally marry.
The long answer – Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961 (the Act) requires that a marriage shall not be solemnised unless a notice in writing of the intended marriage, in the prescribed form, is given to the authorised celebrant solemnising the marriage. This Notice is the prescribed form for this purpose.
- If you’re super organised like me, we can complete your NOIM up to eighteen months before your planned ceremony date. I’ll take care of the lodgement for you. That’s one thing ticked off your wedding to-do list!
- The notice may be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.
- I will also require evidence of your date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each of you. I may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.
Shortening of Time
If there is less than one month before your wedding a Prescribed Authority may approve a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances. I’m happy to chat to you about this and and assist you with information regarding your application for a shortening of time.
On The Day
Whether you choose a bells and whistles event, an intimate elopement or a short and sweet legals only ceremony, all ceremony packages will require you to sign three marriage certificates. All three certificates will be signed by you, your awesome celebrant (that’s me!) and two witnesses. The Official Certificate of Marriage and Declaration goes to Births Deaths and Marriages and the second Certificate of Marriage is held in the Marriage Register. I will present you with the third certificate, the Comemorative Certificate of Marriage as your record.
After You Are Married
I’ll lodge all your marriage paperwork with the registry of births, deaths and mariages in the state or territory in which your marriage took place, within 14 days. Marriage certificates are a celebration of a special part of your life. They’re also an important personal document that you can use as proof of your wedding for official purposes, such as changing your name on a passport or driver licence.
Your official certificate of marriage can be obtained through the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were married. You will need to pay a fee and provide certified copies for your identity documents when you lodge your application. I’m a Justice of the Peace (Qualified) and more than happy to assist you certifying your identity documents.
Change Of Name
Should you wish to apply for a formal change of name in Australia, visit your state or territory’s births, deaths and marriages registry.
It’s important you get the legal requirements right. It may seem a little daunting, after all, you want to be legally married at the end of your ceremony right? It’s my job as your celecrant to make all the legal bits stress free and correct; and all the ceremony fancy bits, fantastic!