What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia? ALL the LEGAL stuff!!

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What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia? ALL the LEGAL stuff!!

This is A LOT of information to take in – hold onto your hats and know that I will guide you every step of the way!

To legally marry in Australia, the following requirements must be met:

1. Both parties must be over 18 years of age.  If one person is under the age of 18, marriage is still possible by parental consent as per section 12 of the Marriage Act.  If this applies to you, I can assist with further information and support on this process.

2.  The Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be completed, signed, witnessed and lodged with me at least one calendar month prior to your Wedding ceremony.  It is my job to take you through this process and prepare and witness your completion of the form.   As a part of this, I need to view your original birth certificates and/or passports and photo I.D.  Please note: the earliest you can submit a NOIM is 18 months before your proposed wedding date.

If either party has been previously married, I am required to sight an original Divorce Certificate or Death Certificate.

Certified copies of supporting documentation cannot be accepted.  To obtain a copy of your Victorian Birth Certificate or the Victorian Death Certificate of your former spouse contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.

If you require a copy of your Divorce Certificate or Decree Absolute, contact the Family Law Court in the state in which the marriage was dissolved. For further details visit the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website.

* If parties born overseas do not have a passport and are unable to obtain a full birth certificate, I can prepare a statutory declaration for your execution.

* Foreign language documents must be translated into English and a NAATI accredited Translation Certificate supplied.

3.  In addition to the NOIM, within (approximately) the week leading up to the wedding, both parties must sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediments to Marriage (DONLIM).  This document reiterates the NOIM (and states) that the couple are 18 years or more, not married to anyone else and that there is no legal reason why they should not be married.

After the ceremony there are 3 documents for the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant to sign.

a. Certificate of Marriage (forwarded to Birth, Death and Marriages (BDM) after solemnisation)
b. Marriage Certificate Register (kept by the Celebrant)
c. Commemorative Marriage Certificate (the pretty one which you keep!)

Please note:  The ceremony must be witnessed by an additional two people alongside myself who are of sound mind and over the age of eighteen years.  They must also provide their full and proper names as recorded on their Birth Certificates.

4. The Marriage Act 1961 requires that certain statements are included in your ceremony. These are:

  • As the celebrant I must introduce myself at the beginning of the ceremony
  • I must say the Monitum before the exchange of vows – word for word.
  • And the couple must say: ‘I ask everyone here to witness that I, ABC, take you, XYZ, to be my wedded wife/husband/spouse’.

Additional information:

Interstate couples

If you are planning to marry interstate, you can lodge your completed and signed/witnessed  Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant via email or post. It is acceptable for a celebrant to witness I.D via a video conference call, however I also advise that you bring your I.D documents with you to the wedding so I can view them before we begin to ensure we have 100% met all the legal requirements.

If one of the couple lives overseas and is waiting on an Immigration Visa

It is possible for one party to the marriage to complete, sign and lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage with a celebrant. This must be signed, witnessed and I.D. produced before the wedding is solemnised.

I can then provide a letter to the embassy of the country where the overseas person resides which states I have accepted to solemnise the marriage between the couple and I have lodged the NOIM.

Information for persons living overseas who wish to be married in Australia 

As a couple marrying in Australia you will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) within the period between of 18 months and 1 calendar month prior to the wedding. It must still be witnessed in person before it can be lodged. In the case where the Celebrant is in another country,  there are other  categories of persons authorised under the Marriage Act to witness a NOIM, which are stated on the Attorney General’s website. section 4.9.2 Who may witness a NOIM signed outside Australia?

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