Christine Walker is a qualified Gold Coast Celebrant and as such she is bound by law to ensure all the Legal Requirements for Marriage in Australia are met. Deciding to get married is a very important step in your life and should therefore be very carefully thought out. Remember, marriage is a legal state. The Family Court (there to protect the institution of marriage), says that marriage is ‘the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life’.
Legal Requirements for Marriage in Australia
Before you can get married in Australia you have to fill out the Notice of Intention to Marry Form and have it signed by your Celebrant or by a Justice of the Peace. Justice of the Peace operate out of most shopping centres.
FURTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN AUSTRALIA
Like most of the important things in your life, getting married and marriage itself have laws that apply to them and legal consequences.
1. Are you old enough?
If both partners are over 18, getting married is very straightforward. However if one partner is under 18 years of age, the legal road ahead is going to be a little rockier. No one under the age of 16 is permitted to marry in Australia. Neither are you permitted to marry if both partners are under the age of 18. However, if one partner is under 18 but older than 16, you have parental or guardian consent and a magistrate’s or judge’s order, you can be married.
2. Documentation… Official Requirements
You must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage no later than a full calendar month and not earlier than 18 months before your wedding date.
This waiting period is to prevent ‘spur of the moment’ marriages, giving partners time to reconsider their decision. In exceptional cases, this waiting time may be waived, for a fee, by the ‘prescribed authority’ (usually the state Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages).
The Notice of Intended Marriage can be downloaded from this website or can be downloaded from the Attorney General’s website www.ag.gov.au.(insert link) Once you have lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage, you have started the legal marriage process.
I will need to site the following documents:
a: An original birth certificate or original extract of birth certificate as proof of your date and place of birth.
b. If your birth certificate is not in English, your documentation must be a certified translation.
c. A passport is acceptable if you do not have an original copy of your birth certificate.
d. Drivers Licence.
A decree absolute or death certificate as proof that any previous marriage has been terminated. It is usual that the person with whom you lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage will conduct your ceremony. However, this document may be transferred to another celebrant should circumstances deem it necessary.
Choosing Christine as your celebrant is a very important decision, not only as a legal representative, but also as the one who will ensure your ceremony has meaning and beauty. You will come to know her well, so it is important that you both feel comfortable with and trust her to carry out her role professionally.
Christine is responsible for ensuring you have fulfilled all legal requirements prior to your celebration and after your ceremony, for lodging your completed Notice of Intended Marriage and Certificate of Marriage with the appropriate Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Additional documentation to be prepared and signed includes your Wedding Certificate and the Marriage Register that both bride and groom, two witnesses (usually your chief bridesmaid and head groomsman) and the marriage celebrant must all sign after the ceremony.
Further Legal Considerations
FURTHER LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS
It is becoming increasingly popular and much more acceptable for a couple to enter into a ‘pre-nuptial’ agreement. This is a legally binding financial agreement made prior to the marriage prepared with independent legal advise which specifies how your property and/or spouse maintenance will be arranged in the unfortunate circumstances of you separating.
After the Wedding…..
As a legally married couple, there are many more legalities than being single, the following need to be considered.
Changing your name
Once married, the wife traditionally changes her surname to that of her husband. This custom is popular but no longer a legal requirement of marriage. Many women today choose to keep their own surname or hyphenate their surname with their husband’s. If you wish to hyphenate your name, you will need to apply for a registered change of name certificate through the State Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages Department. This is entirely a personal choice, but one you and your partner should discuss and agree upon. Choosing to keep your own name or hyphenate your two names will lead to discussions later on regarding your children’s surnames. This is an important decision, both in legal and family terms. You must also remember to change your name on all official documents such as your driver’s licence, passport and bank accounts. For this you will need to apply to the State Department of Births, Deaths & Marriages for a Registered Marriage Certificate. Remember you may also need to change your beneficiaries on your superannuation after you are married.
Taxation after marriage
Taxation can change after you are married. As taxation is an involved issue, with everybody’s case an individual one, it is best to contact the Australian Tax Office, a tax agent or your accountant to evaluate how your tax and financial arrangements will be affected by your marriage.
Making a will Right now, making a personal will is probably not foremost in your mind but it is an important issue and needs to be addressed. If you are married and unexpectedly die without a will, your spouse will inherit all your property unless there are children of the marriage in which case the spouse and the children will share the estate.
Any will made previous to your marriage will no longer apply. If you are concerned about beneficiaries to your property, seek the advice of your solicitor to professionally make changes to your will.
Health and Welfare Benefit
Marriage also affects health and welfare benefits. If you receive any of these benefits, you must advise various agencies if you marry – you may lose benefits and even be penalised if you fail to promptly do so.
These agencies include Health Insurance Funds, Centrelink and other Government Welfare Departments. Contact them before the wedding to determine your responsibilities and to evaluate how, if at all, your benefits will change.
If you are considering children immediately, you may need to change your health insurance from a single to a family status.
The family is an important group in Australian law. Australian laws expect a married person to financially support any children from the marriage. This includes looking after their health and welfare and ensuring they get the correct education.
Music, Poetry.. Copyright Issues
I have a licence for the reproduction of musical work and sound recordings for the use of music within the ceremony only.
Find out who it is that has the copyright for anything other than the music. You will find this information at…
APRA (www.apra.com.au) or PPCA (www.ppca.com.au)
and they will give you advice as to whether you can get a licence through them. It is advisable to do this as early as possible so that you have all the legalities sorted out well in advance of the ceremony.
i I have taken every possible action to make sure that the music played is covered by my licence.
ii If it isn’t covered by my licence then the couple have been made aware of this and they take full responsibility for their actions.
iii The couple also accept that any repercussions for their decision and the use of any unlicenced material is their responsibility.
PRE-MARITAL RELATIONSHIP GUIDANCE
Hart Counseling Centre Relationship Specialists
Level 3, Kaybank Plaza, 33 Scarborough St, Southport QLD, 4215
Ph: (07) 5588 0443 Fax: (07) 5591 2583
Centacare Catholic Family & Community Services
Assist Any Individual/ Family Without Religious Or Financial Prejudice
Counselling–Marriage, Family & Personal
50 Fairway Drv, Clear Island Waters, QLD, 4226
Ph: (07) 5527 7211 Fax: (07) 5527 7454
Solstice Mind Matters
Counselling–Marriage, Family & Personal
36 Beryl St, Tweed Heads, QLD, 2485
Ph: (07) 5599 2220