Marriage in Australia is regulated by the federal government, which is granted the power to make laws regarding marriage by section 51(xxi) of the constitution. The Marriage Act 1961 applies uniformly throughout Australia (including its external territories) to the exclusion of all state laws on the subject.
Australian law recognises only monogamous marriages, being marriages of two people, including same-sex marriages, and does not recognise any other forms of union, including traditional Aboriginal marriages, polygamous marriages or concubinage. The marriage age for marriage in Australia is 18 years, but in "unusual and exceptional circumstances" a person aged 16 or 17 can marry with parental consent and authorisation by a court. A Notice of Intended Marriage is required to be lodged with the chosen marriage celebrant at least one month before the wedding. There is no citizenship or residency requirement for marriage in Australia, so that casual visitors can lawfully marry in Australia, provided that a domestic marriage celebrant is employed, the requisite notice given, and other domestic requirements satisfied.
Marriages performed abroad are normally recognised in Australia if entered into in accordance with the applicable foreign law, and do not require to be registered in Australia. It is not uncommon for Australian citizens or Australian residents to go abroad to marry. This may be to the family’s ancestral home country, to a destination wedding location or because they would not be permitted to marry in Australia.
As was the case for other Western countries, marriage in Australia for most of the 20th century was done early and near-universally, particularly in the period after World War II to the early 1970s. Marriage at a young age was most often associated with pregnancy prior to marriage. Marriage was once seen as necessary for couples who cohabited. While some couples did cohabit before marriage, it was relatively uncommon until the 1950s in much of the Western world.According to a 2008 Relationships Australia survey love, companionship and signifying a lifelong commitment were the top reasons for marriage.
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