Category: Our Guidelines to Australian Marriage Law
By when in the process must we have given the required documents to the couple?
I have been giving the required documents (happily ever…, code of practice, complaint info, etc.) with the engagement letter / quote, however, often I only have an email address at this stage for one party, not both. As I understand it, this doesn’t satisfy the requirements of the act (giving happily ever… effectively to only one party).
Upon booking, that’s when I get my now clients to give me their complete contact information. I’ve trialed different methods of getting complete contact info on enquiry but nothing has really been effective.
I’m trying to optimise my systems and I don’t want to send more emails in my workflow than I have to, so I was wondering can I send this info at the point of our planning meeting (circa 4 months out) as part of an email that already sits in my workflow rather than at the point of booking?Read More
“A local celebuddy and I have recently been chatting about being a primary back-up celebrant for each other. As a fairly new celebrant, it got me wondering how other people manage replacements when you have to cancel at short notice (or even on the day). Do you ask the new celebrant to use your script (even if it’s very much in ‘your’ voice)? How do you divide payment? Do you partially/fully refund the couple because you’ve not completely fulfilled the contract? What if you’re in a car accident on the way to the ceremony and you have all the paperwork on you?”Read More
Notices of Intended Marriage signed in Australia can be witnessed by people with a number of different qualifications. Most are pretty straightforward: an authorised celebrant, a justice of the peace, a barrister or solicitor, or a member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory. Easy, right?Read More
Alice asks: I’m lodging a NOIM for a couple where the bride is Japanese. She has a passport (which is in English), but Japanese passports do not include place of birth, so I’ll also have to use her birth certificate...Read More
A Celebrant Institute member asks: “I know celebrants are required send all the legal documents after the wedding day or submit via lifelink within 14 days of the ceremony but what actually happens if we forget?” Sarah’s on holidays this week but luckily for you, this is a question even I can answer.Read More
I’ve written before about how easy it is for parties to get a copy of their divorce order if they were divorced in Australia. I’ve also written about the changes in the 2018 Guidelines that allow us to accept a stat...Read More
Lizzie asks: “My couple is getting married on a boat in The Pittwater located on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Please advise how I best record the “at” on the docs for a wedding adrift.” The Guidelines to the Marriage Act, in relation to the place a wedding would occur, gives this poor advice: “The marriage must be registered in the state or territory where the marriage was solemnised. To meet this requirement, and possible requirements of other countries for recognition of the marriage, marriages in aircraft and ships at sea should be avoided.” I’m not going to say they’re wrong, but they’re not right. Australian authorised marriage celebrants have the authority and the ability to marry couples anywhere and at any time on any day within Australia and its territories.Read More
Some of you may recall this little rant I went on after the updated Guidelines were released last year: “Change of name by marriage: A party who has changed their name by marriage, and retained their previous...Read More
A couple from America have gone gung ho and booked to elope in December. They have their heart set on coming into their wedding on a camel!
I advised them that this our ‘wet’ season and there may be a chance of rain and will need a plan B. However there is no plan B option for a camel to be involved….which is their whole motivation for getting married in this destination. The cameleer has advised them that they definitely need a plan B too. He has asked them potentially plan to have the wedding on 2 consecutive dates (28th and 29th Dec) so that if it is raining on the first date, they can do it on the second date.
I advised them that this isn’t possible due to the NOIM limitations. Anyway I got to thinking, is it totally illegal to fill in 2 NOIMS – one for each date? I feel like this would be a no-no but I guess I want to satisfy my curiosityRead More
Shortenings of time come up every now and again, and they’re definitely not scary! While applying is the couple’s responsibility, there are some things the celebrant needs to do…Read More
A celebrant asks: I have a question about sighting ID when the Celebrant and marrying couple are in different states. I have a number of family and friends in other states that have asked me to perform their ceremonies for...Read More
I’m looking at the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Authorised Celebrants 2018: what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s gone. I’m not going to talk about changes such as the checklist for solemnising marriages moving from page 31 to the appendix, or other page or structure changes. What I will be talking about is the changes that affect the way Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants (both Subdivision C marriage celebrants and Subdivision D religious marriage celebrants) do our work, and there are more than you might expect.Read More
Anka asks: Lately I’ve noticed a lot of celebrants on Facebook have started advertising that they can do weddings overseas?? I didn’t think we could? Im presuming they might be just completing paperwork at the airport before they depart? Or did u miss somethingRead More
Breaking marriage law news – for the second time since 1961: Celebrants can witness NOIMs over the internet! From 22 December 2021 you can witness the Notice of Intended Marriage over a video call. You can send a couple their NOIM as a PDF…Read More
Elle asks: I have a wedding where I am marrying the couple on a boat, we are all going to get on and cruise for 10mins until the couple get a feeling like yep lets pull up here and then I will do their ceremony, then the boat will carry on for couple of hours whilst everyone has drinks, food and watches the sunset. So in regard to Location of marriage on paperwork, NOIM and Marriage Docs as I won’t know the coordinates until we literally pull up, do I just write the coordinates in quickly before I call everyone in to kick ceremony off or can I fill when we go to sign docs? And am I just writing the coordinates, or do I need to put the boats name also?Read More
Maria asks: I am hoping to be able to travel and marry people in other countries so how do I go about doing that? I understand the law is different in each state in the US and of course Canada so is there an easy process to get the legal requirements to marry people overseas?Read More
Alison asks: I’m currently studying to become a marriage celebrant, but there is one thing that worries me about setting up my practice once authorised: the home office. I currently live with flatmates in the city, so space is limited. I’m only planning on doing the celebrancy thing as a side gig (at the moment) as an antidote to my corporate day job, so renting full-time office space isn’t practical. In your interpretation of the Marriage Act and Code of Practice, would it be appropriate to maintain an “office” in my lockable bedroom, securing documents in a locked filing cabinet, while renting a separate interview space when needed or offering to meet couples in their homes? Can you recommend any other solutions?Read More
The Unofficial Guidelines on the ‘Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants’ for Marriage Celebrants
Deb writes in asking “I appear to get myself into hot water time and time again, by saying that the Guidelines are just that GUIDELINES, and the act and the regs are the actual LAW. Am I right?”Read More
Cass asks: I’m marring a couple in October and one of them can’t find his birth certificate and he’s looked everywhere. He seems to think it can’t get posted to him in time to fill out the NOIM. He only has a passport and not a drivers license or proof of age. Is there any other form of ID he can use like Medicare or like proof of residency? Sorry, I tried looking it up and can’t quite figure out how to use other IDs on the NOIM?Read More
On page 4 of the NOIM, in the tiny font underneath the signature panels, there is a list of people who can witness the signatures of the parties on the NOIM. There’s a rather confusing entry in this list for people who can...Read More
The Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, all have their own online systems for logging in online and submitting marriage paperwork electronically. The Australian Capital Territory BDM doesn’t have an online system, but they do accept via email.Read More
In early December the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s department’s Marriage Law and Celebrants Section let us know that the remote witnessing of NOIMs has been extended to 31 December 2023.Read More
Charis asks: My client has registered a relationship. She was never married but registered a relationship with BDM. They told her she could not get married until this is cancelled by them. Do I record this info anywhere? She has...Read More
As a follow-up to my recent post about a super easy and free advertising platform for Australian celebrants, this is how you can change which address is displayed in your listing. As mentioned in that post, I only display the...Read More
Sometimes (often?) Josh and I disagree on the answer to a question. This was one such time… Bree asked: Want to see the rest of this article? Log in or become a...Read More
I’m sure that all of you have familiarised yourself with the Marriage Act of 1961, so you probably don’t have to read this, but on the off chance that Sarah Aird has schooled you, like she’s just schooled me, on some things in the Marriage Act, I thought I’d share them here. These are new changes since marriage equality was legislated. Today we’re talking about section 39G, Obligations of each marriage celebrant.Read More
Jac asks: I have a bride who no longer uses her birth name for anything except forms. Her invites use her preferred name. She has actually said it’s causing her anxiety that her birth name be used during the ceremony. ...Read More
Sarah and I have been reviewing the Guidelines to the Marriage Act and one chapter caught my eye and I thought maybe you didn’t know how many things you could do that would end you up in jail for at least six months, or with “five penalty units” whatever they are.
You can find it all detailed heavily in the actual Marriage Act of 1961, but here’s the list of things a celebrant can do that could end them up in jail.Read More
I have a groom whose status in Australia is as a ‘permanent resident’ which was granted last year. (He is from the UK.) To be sure to satisfy both myself and also the couple, this status does NOT require any additional paperwork/applications etc to legally marry here in Australia, correct?Read More
A celebrant asks: I have received a Notice of Errors in documentation email from BDM. They have requested the bride provides a stat dec indicating why her signature on the NOIM and Marriage Certificate are different. Is there wording we can provide on the stat dec to assist completion? Can we provide a scanned copy of the stat dec to BDM (or do they need to sight originals)Read More
What does “signing electronically” actually mean?Read More
I have a Jane Brown (married name from her third marriage – the marriage I am looking after will be her fourth)
She uses the name Jane Brown in everyday use, and has Jane Brown on all her current documents. The only document she has with her maiden name (Jane Smith) is her birth certificate.
She has asked if I can use her maiden name, Jane Smith, in the ceremony on the day?Read More
Karen asks: What are the differences/similarities, restrictions and allowances between a celebrant-led wedding and a church wedding, that is, by
an ordained minister. I have noticed a lot of confusion and even ignorance about what can and can’t be done when the question of faith is raised. Can a celebrant read a biblical text, what constitutes a church and why can’t all ministers perform weddings? I am a civil celebrant who came from a faith background and I know, there are many others as well.
After a chat with some other celebrants recently, it occurred to me that I had no idea what our annual registration fee actually goes towards other than a vague concept of it supporting the Marriage Celebrants Programme. What benefits do we receive in return for our compulsory registration fee?Read More
While I’ve talked a lot about how I sign my paperwork on an iPad, you’re welcome to choose your tablet and software of choice, I haven’t detailed exactly where the paperwork comes from.
Of course you can [download blank marriage paperwork] from the Attorney-General’s office, and if you wanted to find the shortest link between the AGD website and signing it on an iPad, you could literally treat that blank paperwork like blank physical paper. But there’s a better way and it depends which state you live in.Read More
With the new law, we are able to sight their identification online, so can we do the same if they sign the documents in front of us but online? So signing in America, we watch them do that over Skype, then they mail us the form, and we sign NOIM and date when we watched them sign over Skype.Read More
Marie asks: I married a couple last night and when I got home registered the marriage and ordered their marriage certificate. This morning I woke up to a string of texts from the bride to not register the marriage and that she no longer wants to be married to him. What do I do? Or what do they do?Read More
I’ve been telling couples that after their marriage ceremony the Queensland Births, Deaths, and Marriages will email them with “an opportunity to order their marriage certificate” but I had not actually seen one of those emails yet. I’m guessing you hadn’t either.
So here’s what the Qld BDM emails after you register a marriage online with them:Read More
Precious asks: I have a couple that I’ve met but they forgot to bring their ID when they signed the NOIM. One of them is available tomorrow to come round with both of their ID, but do I need to see both of them at the same time I see their ID, or can I see partner A and both partner A and Bs ID then?Read More
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- Sally Bruce December 4, 2023
- Annie Birchenough December 3, 2023
- Millie Robinson December 1, 2023
- Millie Robinson November 28, 2023
- Millie Robinson November 28, 2023