Legal Requirements for Marriage in Australia
In Australia there are some processes to follow in order to be married legally. Most people don’t know ‘How to get married’ unless they start investigating. Don’t worry; we can guide you through the procedure. Everyone who marries in Australia has to complete these forms and provide the minimum notice. Here’s what you need to do as a minimum to Get JUST Married®…
In simple terms you need to prove 4 things to your Celebrant –
- That you are who you say you are.
- That you are old enough to marry.
- That you are not married to anyone else.
- That you are not in a prohibited relationship with the person you want to marry.
You prove this by completing a form called the Notice of Intended Marriage Form (some call it the NoIM or NIM). This NoIM form needs to have your signatures witnessed by your Celebrant, a JP, Medical Doctor, Legal Practitioner or a Police Officer and in your Celebrant’s hands a MINIMUM of 1 calendar month before your wedding date. The NoIM form is valid for 18 months from the date of lodgement. You can lodge your Notice in person, via email or mail, but you must bring the original Notice with you when we meet.
Additional information about changing your name after marriage can be found here
If you complete the NoIM form OUTSIDE of AUSTRALIA, you can have your signatures witnessed by an Australian Diplomatic Officer, an Australian Consular Officer, an employee of the Commonwealth authorized under paragraph 3 (c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, an employee of the Australian Trade, Commission authorized under paragraph 3 (d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955 or a Notary Public.
You also need to show your celebrant ORIGINAL identification documents such as Birth Certificate or Passport, plus a Drivers Licence or Proof of Age Card with Photo. You must be 18 years or older to marry in Australia. I can start off with a photocopy, but before the wedding commences, by law, I have to sight ORIGINALS.
Can’t find your birth certificate? A new one can be obtained at the Births Deaths & Marriages Registry Office in the State you were born New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory). If you were born in a country outside Australia, and your identity documents are in a language other than English, you will need a certified translation of the documents.
If you have been married before, you need to show my proof that you are no longer married.
If you are divorced, I need to see an original Divorce Document. If you can’t find (or threw out!!) your divorce paperwork, you can obtain a copy by following the instructions outlined on the Family Law Courts website.
If you have been widowed you will need the Death Certificate of your former spouse. This can be obtained from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in the state where the death was registered.
On the day of your marriage you must have two witnesses over the age of 18. If you are eloping and would like your marriage to be secret, Vows Now can often assist* by providing 2 witnesses for your marriage ceremony (*this is not guaranteed and fees apply).
If you are getting married, your celebrant will provide you with a brochure called “Happily Ever…before and after – important information for people planning to marry“. This brochure includes information on marriage education, counselling, changing your name, taxation, wills, joint ownership and legal obligations. Download the brochure here.
If you already completed a NoIM form with another Celebrant or at the Registry Office, there are ways you can transfer the Notice of Intended Marriage form to another Celebrant.
If you need to marry urgently and can’t wait one calendar month after submitting your NoIM form, in very specific circumstances I can assist you to apply for a Shortening of Time. This is never guaranteed and there are only five reasons that a prescribed authority may allow a couple to marry in Australia when a Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) is lodged with an authorised celebrant with less than one month’s notice:
- employment related or other travel commitments (evidence of the date on which the applicant was informed about this commitment as opposed to the date on which the commitment will commence will need to be provided);
- wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations (receipts for payments or evidence of the date wedding invitations were sent will need to be produced);
- medical reasons (a letter from a medical practitioner will be required);
- legal proceedings; or
- an error in giving notice (on the part of the authorised celebrant, not the couple.)