Legal Requirements

Legal requirements for marriage in Australia

Woohoo! We’re engaged to be married!
Now, what are the legal requirements?

As an authorised Melbourne celebrant, I strive to conduct my business with the utmost professionalism and adherence to all legal obligations required for marriage.

Throughout our discussions, I will guide you through each step of the process and address any questions you may have. My goal is to ensure your comfort and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of all legal requirements involved in becoming legally married.

It is my commitment as your marriage celebrant, to ensure all your legal obligations have been met, but I have listed all the requirements for legal marriage in Australia below for your interest!

As always, feel free to contact me directly, if you have any further queries.

Complete + Lodge a Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM)

As part of my marriage celebrant service, I generally prefer to meet with couples face to face so we can complete this together, but it may be more convenient for you to download the form here, complete it at home and have it witnessed before lodgment.
A list of notary publics who can act as a witness can be found on page 4 of the NOIM.

It is a legal requirement for marriage that the NOIM has been lodged with your marriage celebrant, no less than one month, but within 18 months, of your confirmed wedding date.

“Lodging” your NOIM simply means completing the form and ensuring that your celebrant, as an authorised government representative, has the original, completed document in their possession.

The NOIM can also be lodged electronically.

When lodging a NOIM, the following forms of identification can be accepted;

  • Australian or International passport
  • Australian or Overseas Birth Certificate (Not Birth Extract)
    You can contact the Department of Births, Deaths & Marriages to purchase a reprint
  • Photo Identification. ie. Drivers license

For overseas documents that do not have an English translation, an official translation by a NAATI approved translator MUST be obtained before the NOIM can be completed.
You can contact the NAATI translator closest to you by clicking HERE. 

If one of the parties to the marriage cannot conveniently sign this notice before the one month cut off, the other party may individually sign the notice, with the absent party signing at any other time prior to the marriage being solemnised.

**Please contact me for any Visa Application letters, requested by the Department of Immigration, if required at this time.

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If you wish to marry sooner than the one month lodgement time

You can apply for a shortening of time,  but your reasons for doing so, must fall within one of the following criteria:

  • Employment related or other travel commitments
  • Wedding or celebration arrangements or religious considerations (written proof required)
  • Medical Reasons (doctors’ certificate required) Melbourne celebrants
  • Legal proceedings (court summons required) Melbourne wedding celebrants
  • Error in giving notice (this relates only to error on the part of the celebrant)

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If a party to the marriage is divorced

In addition to the required forms of identification when lodging a NOIM, a party who has been previously married MUST provide a court authorised Certificate of Divorce.

For Australian divorce records, see the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia.

In the event that a party has been married more than once before,a Certificate of Divorce from their most recent marriage MUST be provided.

As of 1 July 2002
, the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court ceased issuing both a decree nisi of dissolution of marriage and a decree absolute. They now issue a document titled “Certificate of Divorce”, which contains the dates of the decree nisi and the decree absolute.
This certificate is a legal requirement for marriage within Australia.

If you were divorced prior to 1 July 2002 you will need to show me a copy of the decree absolute.

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If a party to the marriage is widowed

In addition to the required forms of identification when lodging a NOIM, a widowed party to marriage must also present an authorised certificate of death for the their deceased spouse.

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If a party to the marriage is under the age of 18

Youth Law Australia states that if you are aged between 16 and 18, or the person you want to marry is aged between 16 and 18, you can apply to the Family Court or Magistrates Court to get married.

A Court will only allow you to get married if you can prove that there are unusual or exceptional circumstances. This means that these orders are given in very rare situations. The Court will look at the specific facts and circumstances specific to your relationship when making the decision about whether or not to make an order. This might include:

  • your maturity;
  • the length of your relationship with your partner;
  • your financial situation;
  • how independent you are as a couple;
  • why you want to get married; and
  • what your families think of you getting married.

In order to get married, you must also have permission from the parent/guardian of the person who is under 18. If the parent/guardian refuses to give permission, you can make an application to the Court to allow the marriage to continue without the permission of the parent/guardian. The Court will only grant this in very rare cases and this will depend on the exact reasons why the permission was not given.

If you are given permission to get married, you must get married within 3 months of receiving Court permission.

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Legal requirements LEADING UP to the wedding

A Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage will need to be completed and signed before the marriage ceremony commences.
This is a means to declare that the information provided in your NOIM is true & correct to the best of your knowledge and that you see no legal impediment to getting married. The signing of this document is normally done at the time of your final meeting, or rehearsal, but can also be signed on the day of the wedding, for those of you who are a little time poor!
I will provide this document for you to sign in my presence.

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Legal requirements on the DAY OF the wedding

There are three compulsory legal obligations on the day of the wedding – the Monitum, the Declaration of Intent, and the Signing of the Marriage Register.

The Monitum is the following legal wording that all authorised marriage celebrants are required by law to recite during the ceremony;
I am duly authorized by law to solemnize marriages according to law.
Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.
Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
Or words to that effect.

The Declaration of Intent is the following statement that all couples entering into marriage are required by law to recite during the ceremony;
“In the presence of these witnesses, I (full legal name of party 1/2), take you, (full legal name of party 2/1), to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife/spouse/partner in marriage.”

The Signing of the Register, requires TWO persons over the age of 18 to act as official witnesses to your marriage and to sign the marriage register. The marriage register includes THREE documents:

  • Two copies of your official Government Certificate of Marriage – one of which I will forward to the Department of Births, Deaths & Marriages for official registration purposes, and one of which I keep as my own record.
  • One presentation marriage certificate for you to take home and keep forever!
  • Your two witnesses and I will also sign all three certificates.

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Legal requirements AFTER the wedding

I will notify you via email once your marriage has been processed and officially registered with the Department of Births, Deaths & Marriages.
If you have requested a government issued certificate of marriage through me before the wedding, it will be automatically generated and sent to you once your marriage has been processed.
(See here for processing times)
If you have not requested a certificate of marriage, you are welcome to purchase one via the Registry of Births, Deaths + Marriages website at any time in the future.

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Changing Your Name after marriage

If you would like to change your name on a legal document after your wedding, you will need to follow the following steps;
1. Wait until your marriage has been officially registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths + Marriages.
(Please note that this process MAY take up to 4 weeks to finalise.)
2. If you have ordered an official government issued certificate of marriage through me, it will automatically be generated once your marriage has been processed and posted out to you.
3. If you have not ordered a government issued certificate through me, I will send you a link once the marriage has been registered, with instructions on how to obtain one.
3. Once you have received your government issued certificate of marriage, you can start contacting independent institutions to request a change of name.
Most companies have an change of name application form you can complete via their complay website.
4. You can use the electronic name change kit/checklist I sent you via email in the lead up to the wedding. I am happy to email this through to you again though if you can’t find it! Contact me 🙂

Unfortunately, there is no magical one stop shop when it comes to changing your name.
You WILL need to contact each independent institution separately to request one, but it’s not a legal requirement that you run out and change everything all at once, in fact I have heard from quite a few couples that they found it much easier, cheaper and less time consuming to change their name as things expired and they had received a notification to renew!

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* If you found this page helpful, you might like to visit STEPS TO GETTING MARRIED!