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. It is not a requirement to lodge the NIM with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). If you do this and decide to marry outside of the Registry you will lose money and will have to pay extra to have the NIM transferred to a Celebrant.
Under normal circumstances the Notice of Intended Marriage would be completed at your first meeting with your Civil Marriage Celebrant and the required documentation must be produced to the Celebrant at that time, or certainly before the marriage can take place. Both parties are required to give a minimum one month notice. There are some exceptions; for instance if a partner is overseas or interstate and only one can sign that is acceptable. However, if these circumstances do not exist then both parties are required to give the one month notice.
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 such extreme cases of war torn countries for instance where it is impracticable to obtain the documents. The declaration must show cause why you can't obtain the documents.
Although birth certificates are preferred, in the case of persons born outside of Australia a Marriage Celebrant can accept an overseas passport in lieu of the birth certificate. If that person cannot produce their birth certificate or overseas passport the Celebrant will take a Statutory Declaration with details of birth date, place and parents' names together with an explanation as to why the birth certificate is not available. IMPORTANT: An Australian passport cannot be accepted under any circumstances and statutory declarations only apply to persons born overseas.
In the case of persons previously married an original copy of your Decree Absolute or, in 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 so it is essential that you give yourself adequate time to acquire them if you have misplaced them. There are occasions when a marriage is "annulled" and where this happens documented evidence must be produced.
Prior to your wedding, both partners 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.