Legal information

Marriage is celebrated within the framework of the Commonwealth Marriage Act, which is a Federal Law governing all marriages celebrated within Australia and its Territories. Failure to comply with all the provisions of the Marriage Act involves heavy penalties, invalidation of the marriage, and possible gaol terms. At least one month prior to the date you will need to meet with the priest who is conducting your wedding and begin the legal requirements for marriage. The following areas are applicable, and you need to be aware of them.

Minimum Age

Under the law of the Commonwealth of Australia, the marriage of any person under 18 years of age without the order of a judge or magistrate is invalid. If you are under 18 years of age marriage is still attainable, however, will require greater notice so that permission may be sought.

Birth Certificates

An original Birth Certificate must be shown to the priest at least one month prior to the marriage. If you do not have your birth certificate one may be obtained by contacting the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This does have a cost associated with it, and will require an extended period of time.

Evidence of Death

A Death Certificate must be produced before the Marriage of a person whose previous union terminated in the death of the partner.


The Priest must be shown the Decree stating the date of the termination of the previous marriage. Information concerning the date of the first union and the number of children (together with dates of birth) must also be supplied to the Priest. An application to the Bishop of the Diocese in regards to the marriage of divorced persons is also required if either party has been previously divorced.


It is an offence under the act for any person to be married under duress, compulsion, or in any other way against his/her own free will.


It is an offence under the Act for any marriage to be solemnised if one or both of the Parties to the union appear under the influence of, or affected by, alcohol or drugs.


You must have two witnesses to the Marriage, who sign the Registers. Both witnesses must be over the age of 18 years and Australian citizens. These are usually your Matron of Honour and Best Man. However, it can be any person present at your wedding. The Priest will register your Marriage.

Legal Documentation

A number of Legal Documents must be signed as part of the Marriage Contract.

  1. Notification of Intended Marriage
    This form must be signed and witnessed no later than one full month before the date of the Marriage. In all normal circumstances, this should be completed two months prior to the wedding.
  2. Declarations
    Statutory Declarations as to legal fitness of the couple to be married must be signed before the Marriage and be witnessed by the Priest of the marriage.
  3. Marriage Certificates
    Two Marriage Certificates are signed on the day of the Marriage. One Certificate is sent to the Registrar General, the other is handed to the parties of the Marriage. All the official documentation is arranged by the Priest of the marriage for your convenience.

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