Who can get married in Australia?

“Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” — Section 46 of the Marriage Act 1961.

Marriage can occur between any two persons, as long as they are both marriagable.

If you are single, over 18, and mentally competent, you are marriagable.

Previous marriage

If you have been married before, you must make certain that:

  1. you are a widow or widower, or
  2. your marriage was annulled, or
  3. your marriage ended in divorce and you have a decree absolute/divorce certificate/divorce order. (You can still lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with me if your divorce is pending, but the marriage itself cannot take place until the divorce is final.)

If you were previously married in a foreign country, you must not assume your marriage was invalid according to the laws of Australia. Check with the Attorney-General's Department if you are unsure.

You must not marry again if you are already married. It is a criminal offence to commit bigamy.

Under 18

If you are a minor (under 18 years of age), you may be able to marry under exceptional and unusual circumstances. You must apply to a Judge or a Magistrate for an order authorising you to marry a specific person. Based on his/her enquiry, you may receive the order authorising the marriage. Further steps will include parental/guardian consent or, if parental/guardian consent is found to be withheld unreasonably, then a dispensation of consent or consent by a Judge or Magistrate, unless the minor has previously been married.

Please note: under no circumstances can two persons under the age of 18 marry each other, and you cannot marry under any circumstances if you are less than 16 years old.

Being mentally competent

If either of the two parties is not mentally capable of understanding the nature and effect of marriage, the marriage can not be solemnised. A marriage where one of the parties is mentally incapable in this regard is void.

Awareness and consent

Both of the parties must freely and knowingly give their aware and informed consent to the marriage. Notice of your intended marriage has to be given by the couple no later than one calendar month before the date of the wedding, unless you are able to obain approval from a prescribed authority to shorten this time under special circumstances.





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