Getting Married in Australia

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Getting married in Australia is currently governed under the Marriage Act of 1961 and its various amendments. The 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act defined marriage in Australia as:

“…the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Australia will recognise overseas marriage if the marriage was valid in the country it was performed, and would be valid under current Australian law.

To be married in Australia, both you and your partner must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Not be married to someone else;
  • Not be marrying an immediate family member (e.g. parent, sibling, grandparent);
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Understand what marriage entails and freely consent to being married;
  • Use specific wording during the ceremony; and
  • Give written notice of their intent to marry and comply with all necessary time frames.

It is not necessary to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to be legally married in Australia.

To marry in Australia, your marriage will need to be performed by an authorised celebrant. There are three kinds of authorised celebrants – religious celebrants (Church), civil celebrants (civil ceremony) and state and territory officers (Courthouse or registry). You and your partner will need to fill out a “Notice of Intended Marriage” form and provide it to your celebrant at least one month prior to your wedding, as well as provide documentation in relation to you and your partner’s birth, identity and any previous marriages.

On the day of your wedding, you and your partner will sign multiple copies of a marriage certificate, and the authorised celebrant will register your marriage with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages within 14 days. You will need to apply for a copy of the official marriage certificate through the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.

If you wish to change your name once you and your partner are married, this does not happen automatically. You will need to apply to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages for this to happen.

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