Wedding and Legalities

By June 29, 2020 No Comments
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A wedding is an event to be remembered for a lifetime and it is essential when drawing up the plans to ensure that everything is arranged to function without a hitch on the day.  


At least one month and one day – and not more than six months – before the wedding, you’ll need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form.  The bride and groom need to list their names, addresses, and dates and places of birth.  The form asks what each of you do for a living and if you’ve been married before.  You also need to fill in the names of both sets of parents and where they were born.  You can get the Notice of Intended Marriage form from your church, your celebrant or the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state.

The Declaration of Marriage has to be signed either within a couple of days of the wedding or before the ceremony on the day.  On the wedding day itself, you will sign the wedding certificate (using your maiden name) as well s the church or celebrant’s record book and a paper, which goes to the state Registry office.

Supplying proof

The celebrant needs to verify our identity, your age, and whether there are any legal hindrances to your marriage.  Both the bride and groom should present one of the following:  A birth certificate or extract from a birth certificate (available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) or naturalisation papers or a passport. 

If you’ve been married before, the celebrant will need to see official evidence of the termination of that marriage. If you have been divorced, the final decree of divorce (the Decree Absolute) must be presented.  If you’re widowed, you’ll need to produce the death certificate of your former spouse.

There are certain restrictions surrounding marriage in Australia:  you cannot marry your parents, our children, a brother or sister (whether related by birth or adoption), or a half-brother or half-sister.  The marriageable age for both men and women is 18.  A person who is 16 or 17 can marry someone who is 18 or older, but they will need authorization from the Supreme Court plus parental consent to do so.  Parental consent can be dispensed in special circumstances.

Prenuptial agreements

A prenup is a legally binding financial agreement that states how a couple’s money and assets will be divided up in the event of a breakup.  To get a prenup, both partners will require independent legal advice.  A couple divorcing without a prenup is issued an Order by the Family Court, dividing their assets and prescribing alimony requirements.  In determining the Order, the Court looks at the future needs of both partners and their children.

Changing your name

Traditionally, Western brides drop their maiden name and adopt their husband’s family name.  However, if you feel strong ties to the name you were born with, you will need to reach a mutual decision with your husband.  Ask yourself what everyday married life would be like if the two you were known by separate identities.

You will also need to discuss which surname (or surnames) get passed on if children enter the picture.

Don’t forget…

Changing your surname after marriage?  You’ll need to change your details on all of the following:

  • Driving license
  • Voting registration
  • Passport
  • Vehicle registration
  • Property titles
  • Employer’s records
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Medical records
  • Will
  • Membership cards
  • Superannuation
  • Insurance/health funds

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