How Young is too Young
Are you planning on marrying young?
You usually have to be at least 18 years old to get married in Australia. This applies to both males and females, although sometimes it may be possible for a person aged under 18 to marry.
My Partner is Young too
If one partner to the marriage is under 18, the other partner must be at least 18 years old. Marriage between two people both under 18 is illegal under Australian law. No one aged under 16 is allowed to marry under any circumstances in Australia.
What Must the Celebrant Do if I’m Marrying Young
As well as the usual checking of the marrying couple’s ages from their birth certificates or extracts of birth certificates, if one partner is aged under 18, the celebrant must ensure that appropriate permissions have been obtained before marrying the couple. Both the celebrant and the marrying couple will have broken the law if the wedding goes ahead without the these permissions and the marriage will be invalid under Australian law.
The celebrant should also advise the marrying couple to obtain legal advice before applying for the necessary permissions.
Permission, Consent and Lots of Forms
The first requirement is an order obtained from a judge or magistrate authorising the person aged between 16 and 18 to marry someone of marriageable age. Such orders are not granted routinely and the judge must be convinced that there are exceptional and unusual circumstances that justify the issuing of the order. Application to the judge or magistrate must be made on a form, “the notice of application for order authorising marriage under marriageable age”, that can be found on the Attorney-General’s Department website. If the application is approved, the marriage must take place within three months of the date of the court order.
Secondly, it is necessary to obtain the consent in writing of any person whose consent to the marriage is required. Usually, this means the parents of the person under marriageable age, and the wedding must take place within three months of this permission being given. If the person under marriageable age has been previously married, this permission is not required; however, it is still essential to obtain the court order. If the consent is not given, it may be possible for the person under marriageable age to apply to a judge or magistrate for their consent instead.
Once both partners are aged 18, there is no need to obtain either a court order or parental permission to marry. The Notice of Intention to Marry (NOIM) can be lodged by persons not of marriageable age up to 18 months before the wedding and the marriage can be solemnised once both partners have reached the age of 18.