Getting Married in Australia: What are the Legal Requirements?

Your journey towards married life starts right after your engagement. All the wedding planning, from the venue to the outfits, may lead you to forget that there are legal requirements for your ceremony.  

When you are getting married in Australia, it is important to know the legal requirements beforehand. Whether you plan to have a civil wedding or celebrate this wonderful event in the church, you should take note of these points.

What are the requirements?

There are a couple of things you should know if you want to marry in Australia legally. According to the Attorney-General’s Department, these are the initial requirements:

  • The person has to be at least 18 years old (a court may approve if an individual is 16 to 18 years old but it is subject for approval).
  • Both individuals should not be married to other people.
  • The person should not be marrying their sister, brother, grandparent, parent, child or grandchild.
  • The person should understand the definition of marriage, and you give your consent to marrying the other person.
  • The person who is bound to marry must use certain words on the marriage ceremony.
    • A Notice of Intended Marriage should be given to the marriage celebrant, who is a person legally authorised to solemnise a wedding, within the time frame.
    • The Notice of Intended Marriage form is available here.
    • You should give the completed form to the celebrant  18 months to a month before your desired date of the wedding.
    • If you are getting married in less than a month, a prescribed authority may be able to approve a wedding with short notice in some instances.
    • You should provide the following proof of identification with your place and date of birth to the celebrant and if there are previous marriages. There may also be a need for a completed statutory declaration.
    • If you are looking for a celebrant who is authorised, you can check this list.

What are the documents needed?

  • Original birth certificate or original birth extract
  • Original passport, Australian or overseas
  • If you were married previously, you need to show proof of divorce (Divorce Certificate or a Decree Absolute) or a death certificate.
  • You will need to complete a statutory declaration; this is provided by the celebrant.
  • The Notice of Intended Marriage as mentioned above.

Important notes to remember

  • Same-sex marriage is legal in Australia.
  • Marriage celebrants, either in civil or religious weddings, can solemnise marriages in Australia as long as they are Commonwealth-registered.
  • You can get married in Australia even if you are not a citizen or a permanent resident here.
  • On your wedding day, you and your partner need to sign three marriage certificates that two witnesses and the celebrant will have to as well. You will have a copy of the certificate for your record.
  • Your marriage paperwork will be given by the celebrant to the registry of births, deaths and marriages within 14 days from the day of your wedding.
  • You should always check the Getting Married page of the Attorney-General’s Department website to know more about the legalities in getting married in Australia.

Now that you read these tips, you can start preparing for the needed legal requirements. You should prioritise this before you continue putting together the other items in your checklist. Once you’re done with the legal requirements, you can go back in looking for suppliers or scheduling a visit to one of the upcoming wedding expos.

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