Legal Stuff

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Most life-changing moments are ruined by paperwork – and nobody likes paperwork!

Weddings fall into this category.  Though really, getting married in Australia is pretty simple – if you want the low down of what’s needed, and maybe dispel some popular wedding myths, head here.

If you’re planning on tying the knot, then irrespective of where you decide to marry in Australia, you will need to complete and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) and have it witnessed in front of a Justice of the Peace or other authorised person.  I’m a Justice of the Peace (Qual) so I can help you with this.  If you book me as your celebrant, I’ll have you fill in all your details on line – then I’ll be emailed your completed NoIM and I will either email you the pdf for witnessing, or we can sign it in front of me when we design your ceremony (as long as there’s a month in between).

Along with the NoIM you need to supply evidence that you are who you say you are.  I’ll need to sight some original photo identification, usually driver’s licenses do the trick.  I’ll also need to sight either your original birth certificates or passports – you get these straight back.  If you’ve been married before a Divorce or Death certificate will also be required from your most recent marriage.  Birth certificates and Death certificates can be obtained from Births Deaths and Marriages where the birth or death occurred.  Divorce papers can be obtained from the Magistrates Court where the Divorce was finalised.

When you’ve completed the paperwork it needs to be lodged to me one month prior to your wedding. So if your wedding is 09 November 2018, then the latest you can lodge your paperwork (or, in other words, give it to me) is 09 October 2018. There’s only a few ways to reduce this one month waiting time and I can help you with this if you are eligible.

Wirreanda Park in Buderim - one of my favourites for gorgeous romantic wedding ceremonies

Wirreanda Park in Buderim – one of my favourites for gorgeous romantic wedding ceremonies (pic: Matt Rowe Photography)

WHERE CAN I GET MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

If you were born in Australia, go to the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) website from the State/Territory you were born and apply for your birth certificate. Costs may vary and it usually takes about six weeks for the certificates to be posted to you, although if you need it faster, there will be an additional fee.

 

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS

I’ve been married a couple of times before, what do I need to provide?
You will need to supply the death or divorce certificate of your former marriage of your last marriage only – not all of them. See the list of Births Deaths Marriages in each State.

I can’t find my birth certificate. Will my Aussie passport do?
Yep.  Legislation has just changed and it will do just fine!

I was born overseas?
You can supply either your overseas birth certificate or the passport from your country of birth (it’s okay if it has expired, but if it’s been cancelled, then that’s not acceptable). If you supply your overseas birth certificate, I must be able to understand what it says – so if it’s in Chinese for example, you’ll need it translated through an accredited agency, because I can’t read Chinese.

We’re both under 18, can we get married?

Nope.  One of you must be 18.  The other will require adult permission.  Ring me to discuss this.

We’re related.  Can we marry?

That depends on how you are related!  For instance, a brother and sister cannot marry, but cousins can.  Best to ring me!

I’ve heard that there’s legal stuff that has to be said in the ceremony.  What is it and do I have to have it?

The Marriage Act 1961 states that I must say the Monitum which identifies who I am and that I’m registered and that marriage is “solid and binding”.  It also states what marriage is according to law in Australia, which is:  “a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.  Many people don’t know that this is a legal requirement and often people think it is the choice of the celebrant – the Monitum can be offensive to couples who support marriage equity (same sex marriage), so I like everyone to know, this is something that has to be said.  If you disagree with the legislation, you can ask me to say a disclaimer at the end, or you’ve probably seen pictures of everyone in the wedding holding their hands over their ears.  While the Monitum must be said for a legal wedding in Australia – you can still personalise the ceremony around your beliefs.

Also, in your vows, you both must say:  I call upon all persons here present to witness that I (full name) take you (full name) to be my wife/husband/spouse.

And, yes, if you want a legal marriage, these must be said and be audible to your guests.

AFTER YOU'RE MARRIED
Congratulations! You're married... That was the easy part. The hard part is wading through the paperwork to change your name.
The basic rules are-

You can start using your married name straight away but for documents like your driver's licence, passport, and bank accounts, official proof is required. The pretty decorative Certificate of Marriage is no longer acceptable in most cases, and you must now apply for the official Certificate.

So, download the application for Certificate of Marriage from Births Deaths and Marriages, Queensland and shoot it off with the information they require (and a cheque of course, it is a Government Department after all!) The current price is under $40 and it'll take about six weeks to be posted back to you. This will give you the power to change your name on all documents.

BOOKING THROUGH COUNCIL?
The smallest legal wedding in Australia must have five people: the bride and groom (derr!), the Celebrant and two witnesses over 18.
If you're eloping or having a small ceremony (30 or under guests), then you probably don't need to bother booking your ceremony venue.

However, if your ceremony venue is a really popular spot or at a particular intimate little cove on a popular wedding day, it may be best to book to ensure the spot is yours. Remember though that any place you book through Council is public land and as such, the Council has no power to stop people from being where your ceremony is.

So if another wedding party rocks up and neither of you have booked... Well, there could be problems.

For bookings on the Sunshine Coast go through the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
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