About Marriage – did you know…?

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Blog, Weddings | 0 comments

About Marriage – did you know…?

by Robert Moore


You have to give notice . . .?

When you’re thinking about marriage, under normal circumstances in Australia, you cannot get married the following day. Probably the most famous place in the world where you can do that is Las Vegas in the United States. One can obtain what Americans call “a Licence” and be married within a short period of time (like a few hours!)

In Australia, the procedure is a little different. Here, the couple must first lodge a government form, which is headed Notice of Intended Marriage (usually abbreviated to NIM or NOIM) with the celebrant, priest, minister, Rabbi etc of their choice, and then wait for a specified period.

Normally, the wedding cannot take place inside a month from that day. For example, if you lodge your form on the 24th March, then the ceremony can take place on 24th April. It doesn’t matter how long (28, 29, 30 or 31 days) the month is. It’s the date that counts.

What if you need to be married earlier? Or forget to give notice?

The law does provide a fail-safe mechanism for those who find themselves in this difficult position.

For example, a couple can approach The Local Prescribed Authority (in Southport, it is the Assistant Registrar at the Courthouse) and, after ringing for an appointment, apply for what is called a Shortening of Time. There is a non-refundable fee for consideration by the Registrar.

Also there is a list of criteria for which Shortenings of Time may be applied (I have a copy of the list). Evidence is usually required – such as wedding invitations, airline tickets for honeymoon, and similar items which verify your story.


Our signatures have to be witnessed…?

Your signatures on this form must be witnessed, and only by either a Celebrant, or by the various people listed on the NOIM form – 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 or a state police force.

If you are overseas, an Australian Consular Officer, an Australian Diplomatic Officer, or a Notary Public (a kind of international JP), may witness your signatures.


We have to prove our age…?

When you see the person who will officiate at your wedding, you will have to prove that you are 18 years of age or older. That is the minimum age at which people may marry in Australia.

Two people under 18 are not permitted to marry under any circumstances in Australia. If one is under 18, a magistrate’s permission is required.

If you are an Australian citizen, the way you prove that you are 18 years of age or over is to produce a Birth Certificate or an Australian passport. If you were born overseas, the process is similar in that a Birth Certificate, Family History or Passport from the country where you were born, will confirm your identity.


There may be other required documents…?

If you have been married before, you will need to prove how your last marriage terminated by producing the relevant documents. This means that you will have to produce original copies of a Divorce or Death Certificate.



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