To legally get married in Australia, certain laws and processes need to be followed both before the marriage ceremony and after. Here are the key facts you need to know about getting married under Australian law.
Same sex marriages are not currently legally recognised in Australia. Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. However, some States enable same sex couples to register their relationship and this gives them legal recognition.
In order to legally marry, both parties must be over the age of 18. However, in some circumstances, a court may approve a marriage where one person is between 16-18 years old.
A party cannot marry any close family members, including a parent, child, grandparent or sibling, and neither party must already be married.
The union must also be freely consenting, with each party understanding what it will mean to be married to each other.
Paperwork to complete before marriage
A Notice of Intended Marriage form must be provided to a registered civil marriage celebrant or an authorised minister of religion at least a month in advance of the wedding. However, it may be given up to 18 months before the ceremony takes place.
The celebrant or authorised minister will require both parties’ date and place of birth, as well as details about previous marriages. They may also request that you fill out a statutory declaration as further evidence.
During and after the ceremony
You and your husband or wife, your two witnesses and the celebrant or authorised minister will each sign three marriage certificates. The celebrant or authorised minister will then present you with one of the certificates, which is a record of your marriage, and they have up to 14 days to register your marriage in the State or Territory it took place in.
Since the marriage certificate is required for numerous official purposes, it is important you apply for your official marriage certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your State or Territory. There is a small fee charged for providing the certificate.
Marriages that take place outside of Australia cannot be registered in Australia, so it is vital that the foreign marriage certificate is kept safe, as this is evidence of the ceremony. However, if the marriage was valid in the overseas country, and it would have been legal in Australia, it will usually be recognised.