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Your Legal Obligations

Under the Marriage Act 1961 there are certain obligations that you, as a couple intending to get married, must meet prior to a marriage ceremony being solemnised.

A Notice of Intended Marriage (NIM) must be lodged with your chosen Marriage Celebrant no less than one month and no more than eighteen months prior to the marriage being solemnised.

Under normal circumstances the Notice of Intended Marriage form would be completed at your first meeting with your Marriage Celebrant and the required documentation must be produced to him/her at that time, or certainly before the marriage can take place. Both parties are required to give a minimum one month notice by signing and lodging the NIM. There are some exceptions; for instance if a partner is overseas or interstate and only one can sign a month before the wedding day that is acceptable. However, if these circumstances do not exist then both parties are required to sign one month before.

Parties to a marriage must produce evidence of date and place of birth and this can be done by producing a birth certificate, or an extract of a birth certificate, or an Australian or Overseas passport. Persons born overseas, who cannot produce such original documents under some circumstances can make a statutory declaration as to details of date and place of birth. IMPORTANT: A statutory declaration can only be used in extreme cases, i.e. circumstances where social upheaval due to political situations such as civil war, or in instances of natural disaster have led to the destruction and/or unavailability of civil records. The declaration must show cause why you can't obtain the documents. 

In the case of persons previously married, an original copy of your Divorce Certificate or, if applicable a Court Annulment Certificate; the case of widowhood, an original copy of the Death Certificate must be produced. These documents MUST be produced before the marriage can take place. It is essential that you allow yourself adequate time to acquire them if you have misplaced them. 

Prior to your wedding, both parties will be required to sign a declaration, under the Marriage Act 1961, stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to the marriage between yourself and your partner. This is a legal document and calls for honesty at all times. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information.