Legal Requirements for an Australian Marriage

The Notice of Intended Marriage form must be completed and in the Celebrant’s possession at least one month prior to the date of the ceremony. The Marriage Act requires that you provide the following documents to the Celebrant.

  1. We need to sight original documents showing proof of your place and date of birth.    We can sight your passports as most passports have this information.     Please note that birth certificates contain more information so it is preferable to use birth certificates for more accurate information on your Notice of Intended Marriage, but a passport alone is acceptable unless it does not show your place of birth.   If it does not show place of birth as well as date of birth, an original birth certificate document will be required.   If you do not have one, please email us for advice on how to obtain one from your country of birth, if you do not know how to obtain one.   Expired passports are acceptable, but not cancelled passports.
  2. In the event that either party has been married previously, a decree absolute, or Certificate of Divorce must be provided. In the event of the death of a spouse, a death certificate must be provided. Certificates of Divorce can be obtained from the Family Law Court, if you were divorced in Australia.   If you divorced overseas, you will need to obtain proof from the relevant government department in that country.
  3. If either party has legally changed their name, documents from the relevant registry certifying this should be produced.  In Perth this is the office of Births Deaths and Marriages.   In Perth this is currently known as a Change of Name Certificate. If you have an informal name change, it is highly recommended, to prevent future problems for you, to either obtain a Change of Name Certificate from the BDM, or use your legal name on the documents.    We can source relevant and current advice if you have an unusual situation with regards to name usage.

Other legal requirements:

  1. The legal age in Australia to be married is 18 years, unless a court order is obtained.
  2. By law, two witnesses (at the ceremony) are required who must appear to be over the age of 18 years.

If you think that you won’t be able to meet these basic requirements please contact us IMMEDIATELY so we can advise you of alternative procedures, if any.

Download Jeff’s Notice of Intended Marriage form.

Download Cath’s Notice of Intended Marriage form.

Information on the laws surrounding giving one month’s notice:

Giving notice ‘not later than one month before the date of the marriage’ The examples provided below demonstrate how to calculate the minimum one month notice (required under section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961).
Example 1: If the parties to an intended marriage give written notice (the NOIM) to a celebrant on 15 November 2018, the first day the marriage could be solemnised would be 15 December 2018.
Example 2: If the parties to an intended marriage give the NOIM to the celebrant on 31 August, the first day the marriage could be solemnised would be 1 October that year. This is because September (being the calendar month after August) only has 30 days.
Example 3: In a year that is not a leap year, the notice period for a NOIM given on 29, 30 or 31 January ends at the end of February in that year. For a NOIM given to a celebrant on 29, 30 or 31 January, the first day the marriage can be solemnised is 1 March of that year.
Example 4: In a leap year, the notice period for a NOIM given on 29 January, ends on 28 February, and the first day that the marriage could be solemnised is 29 February of that year.

Lodging the documents and obtaining signatures of authorised witnesses:

The celebrant must receive the signed and witnessed NOIM form one month before the ceremony.    If you are local to the celebrant it is easier for the celebrant to witness your signatures.    If this is not possible before the one month requirement there are alternative witnesses you can use.  The alternative witnesses are listed on the Notice of Intended Marriage, or you can contact your celebrant for advice.    Once signed and witnessed, this document may now be lodged electronically, by scanning and emailing the completed document to your celebrant, or taking a photo of the document and sending it to the celebrant by text message.

  • Marriage documents can now be signed and witnessed electronically, apart from related Commonwealth Statutory Declarations, if used, which must be on paper and signed using pen.  However, video conferencing, such as Skype, can not be used.

See DFAT website for more information.