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VIC Married Overseas - Can We Get Re-married in Australia?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Grant63, 1 November 2014.

  1. Grant63

    Grant63 Member

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    My wife and I were married eleven years ago in Vanuatu, now we would like to get married again by an Australian marriage celebrant and with an Australian marriage license.

    My wife decided that she wants to legally use her married surname but does not want to change her name by deed poll (Name change by RBDM).

    Originally we were told that because our marriage was conducted overseas, we would have to get re-married here in order for a name change to be recognised. Then we were told that because we were married overseas we could not be re-married here. This meant deed poll (RBDM)was her only option but she does not want to lose access to her maiden name, which she would via this avenue. My wife is upset because our marriage is legal, yet she does not have the same legal name changing rights as people married here.

    So my question becomes - is a married name change (other than by RBDM) possible with an overseas marriage certificate? And even more importantly, under Australian law can we legally get married again here in Australia considering our original marriage was never registered in Australia.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Grant,

    In which country/city were you married? Generally, you do not need to be re-married in Australia in order to have your marriage recognised. You may need to get the marriage certificate translated and certified/attested. However, for most marriage certificates there is a reciprocal recognition and enforcement principle in place.

    Have you had a chat with the Births, Deaths and Marriages department in Victoria? If not, I would give them a call to enquire as if appears you been given conflicting information.
     
  3. Grant63

    Grant63 Member

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    Hi Sarah

    Thanks so much for responding. We were married in Vanuatu by the mayor of Port Vila at a resort while on holiday. We have contacted RBDM but got conflicting reports. We wanted to get re-married in Australia but the celebrant told us that because we were already married that was not legally possible. However RBDM told us that while our marriage maybe recognised, the law did not allow my wife to change her name in the normal, much easier, 'married' fashion - only by a RBDM name change. Her passport is up for renewal next year and this has partly triggered all this confusion as she wanted her new passport to be in her married name. The marriage certificate does not need to be translated as it is in English. I still don't quite understand why she just can't take her marriage certificate in to get her new passport in her married name but it seems to be the case. Nor do I understand why, if our marriage is not registered here in Australia, we cannot get married again? Anyway thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    1. If you are lawfully married according to the law of Vanuatu,*
      and all the Vanuatu local paperwork is in order,**
      and BDM in your home state is satisfied of the bona fides,***
      then they can register your marriage.
      In which case getting married again is not necessary.

    2. In Australia, marriage does not automatically cause,
      nor require, a name change by either party.
      In other words - in Australia, nobody's name changes automatically upon marriage
      (nor indeed upon divorce).
      So the notion of an automatic name change upon marriage is mistaken.

      Where people get mixed up about this is because many entities
      (some government departments, some businesses, some banks, etc)
      will accept a Marriage Certificate as Proof of Identity to change a clients/customer's name.
      Sometimes though, they will only accept an Australian certificate, not an overseas one.
      That said, a Registry extract from BDM of a registered overseas marriage
      is often enough.... but it varies by agency.

    3. You are not the first people who have ever wanted to do this.
      This link may be helpful.
    -------------
    * For example, you need to be sure that your ceremony in Vanuatu was a formal legal marriage,
    and not simply a ceremonial thing done for tourists;
    ** This is not always a given, outside of Australia
    *** BDM in your state will have some sort of procedure for recognising overseas marriages
     
  5. Grant63

    Grant63 Member

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    Thank Tim for your reply I appreciate your time

    Yes we were married according to the laws of Vanuatu. I understand that marriage does not mean an automatic name change but a change of name via marriage does not require a BDM name change where you have to hand in your original birth certificate and this is what is upsetting my wife. She wants to change to her married name but f she has to change it via a type of deed poll type change, she has to hand in her birth certificate and this makes her feel as if she is erasing who she used to be. Normal marriage name changes as best as I understand it, allows you to change to your married name while still keeping your past identity. I hope I am still making sense with all this. I guess my ultimate question is, is there a way she can have her married name on her passport etc, without having to hand in her birth certificate?
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    That may be a question best asked directly of the Passports Office.
     
  7. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Grant,

    I agree with Tim, it is probably a question best raised with the Passports Office. You do not need to get married again in Australia.

    From the link that Tim provided:

    "
    Born overseas and residing in Australia
    If you were married overseas, subject to Australian state and territory minimum residency requirements, you should obtain an RBDM change of name certificate. Otherwise, you may be able to use your foreign marriage certificate provided it is legalised (apostilled or authenticated) by the issuing government in a form that meets our requirements and it was issued after you obtained Australian citizenship.

    Born overseas and residing overseas
    If you were married overseas, born overseas, and normally reside overseas, a marriage certificate issued by a foreign authority may be used to change your name if it is not possible for you to obtain an RBDM change of name certificate. This certificate must be legalised (apostilled or authenticated) by the issuing government in a form that meets our requirements and it must have been issued after you gained Australian citizenship.

    You should also seek further advice from your nearest Australian diplomatic mission or consulate before lodging your application as other evidence or documentation may be required to accept the name change.

    If your foreign marriage certificate is not in English, then an English translation from an approved translating service will be required. Click here for more information"

    The question is: is the marriage certificate properly certified and validated according to Australian requirements for overseas documents? If you are unclear as to the certification and validation requirements: see Hague Convention - Apostille
     

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