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What do you have to do to get legally married in Australia?

The first thing you have to do, is complete the Notice of Intended Marriage. This is your legal framework and must be completed at least 30 days prior to the wedding. The NOIM cannot be filled in longer than 18 months in advance of your wedding date. You must fill this document in and have it signed by a relevant authority. It must then be lodged with your celebrant or priest by the above-mentioned time frame.

Who needs to sign the NOIM?

The NOIM needs to be signed by both parties being married, and witnessed by a relevant authority.

Who is a relevant authority that can sign a NOIM?

An authorised celebrant, a Commissioner for Declarations, a Justice of the Peace, a Barrister or Solicitor, a legally qualified Medical Practitioner, or a member of the Australian Federal Police.

Who is a legally qualified medical practitioner?

A legally qualified Medical Practitioner is someone who is registered by the Medical Board of Australia. The list of specialties is enormous, so if they are a GP or a specialist doctor then they will be registered by this board. For example, a surgeon, an obstetrician, a paediatrician, an anaesthetist, a dermatologist etc.  

Can we sign the NOIM at separate times?

The Marriage Act allows for one party to sign the NOIM and lodge it. The second party to the marriage must sign and have their portion witnessed, before the marriage is solemnised.

What if we are not in Australia, who can witness our NOIM?

“If a party signs the notice outside Australia – an Australian Diplomatic officer, an Australian Consular Officer, an employee of the Commonwealth authorized under paragraph 3 © of the Consular Fees Act 1955, an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorized under paragraph 3 (d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955 or a notary public.”

Who cannot witness a NOIM?

Pharmacists, Dentists, Registered Nurses, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Psychologists cannot witness a NOIM.

What evidence do I need to provide along with my NOIM?

  1. You must supply your celebrant or priest, evidence of your place and date of birth and evidence of your identity. Either your passport or your birth certificate and driver’s license.  
  2. If one or both of the parties were married previously then you must supply evidence of your divorce. Most divorce certificates have been issued online, so you can easily supply this to your celebrant or priest.
  3. If your previous partner has passed away then you must supply your celebrant or priest the death certificate
  4. If you have been married several times, then you must supply your most recent divorce certificate.

How is marriage regulated in Australia?

The federal government regulates marriage through the Marriage Act of 1961 and the Marriage Regulations of 1963.  

Do you have to be a citizen of Australia to be married here?

Definitely not, you don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to marry in Australia.

What do I have to do to get my marriage in Australia recognised in my home country?  

In some countries you may need permission from the Embassy to be granted for your marriage to recognised. Please don’t assume your marriage will be recognised in your home country. Always double check with your embassy first.

I am on a partner visa, what does getting married mean for my visa status?

If you are on a certain visa and you want to be married in Australia please check with an Immigration agent. Please note, your celebrant is not authorised to give you legal advice on this matter. Please triple check with an immigration agent, as you do not want to upset your current visa status.

What are the legal requirements to be married in Australia?

The requirements state, you must:

  1. Not be married to another person.  
  2. Not be marrying a person related by blood. For example; a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister. Adoptions is included in this list.  
  3. You must be the minimum legal age of 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is between 16 and 18 years old.
  4. You must understand what you are entering into and what marriage means.
  5. You must both consent to getting married.
  6. You must follow the legal wording set out by the Marriage Act of 1961.
  7. You must lodge the NOIM with your celebrant at least 30 days prior to the wedding.
  8. You must fill in the No Legal Impediment to the marriage, prior to the wedding being solemnised.
  9. You must sign the marriage documents at the conclusion of the ceremony once the verbal legalities have been stated.

What if I identify as the other gender, how do I articulate this on the NOIM?

Thankfully the Australian government has changed the form to represent every person in the community. There is a section for you to tick if you are a bride, groom or partner. You may tick whatever you would like here, regardless of sex. You may also tick if you identify as a male, female or it you are non-binary (x)

Where can I find a marriage celebrant?

All registered marriage celebrants are listed on the Attorney General's website.

Can I get married if I have not filled in the NOIM in the required time limit?

There are a certain set of circumstances in which you can apply to Births, Deaths and Marriages for a shortening of time. If you have not lodged the NOIM in the correct time limits.

The circumstances are:

  1. Employment-related, or other travel commitments.
  2. Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.
  3. Medical reasons.
  4. Legal proceedings.
  5. Error in giving notice.

Please understand that there is a formal process to appeal to Birth Deaths and Marriages in order for a dispensation to be made. You are definitely not guaranteed to get a shortening approved, even if you fit into one of these categories. You must fill in a Shortening of time form, you must also have your celebrant details filled in on the form. You must have a NOIM lodged with a celebrant and a letter from your chosen celebrant saying they are available to marry you, if the shortening of time is granted.

Finally, you must take all of the original documents to Birth Deaths and Marriages, along with your photo ID (passports or birth certificates and drivers’ licences) when you lodge the shortening.

In most circumstances you will find out within 24 hours if your shortening has been approved.

I have been married overseas, can I remarry in Australia?

The quick answer is no. If you have been married in another country and it was a legal marriage, then you cannot be married in Australia.  Most marriages that are held in other countries are considered legal in Australia.  It is therefore not legal to be married again, here in Australia.

Where can I find the NOIM link?

Happy planning lovers.

P.S get your paperwork in on time!