Updated 8 months ago

Marriage in Australia is a legally recognised contract, defined as a union between a man and a woman. As of December 2017, same-sex relationships shall be recognised by the Australian government, for purposes of marriage. However, for de-facto relationship visas, same-sex relationships are recognised.

The marriage procedures

To enter into marriage in Australia, both parties must be not currently married to someone else, and must not be marrying a relative. They also must be over 18 years, unless the court has approved for a marriage to occur if one party is aged between 16 and 18.

A celebrant is someone who is legally recognised to authorise a marriage in Australia. After selecting a celebrant, you must complete a Notice of Intended Marriage, and this must be done at least one month before the wedding date. If there is less than one month until the wedding, contact your celebrant to discuss your options. In addition to this notice, both parties will need to provide proof of identity, date and place of birth (via a birth certificate), and evidence that any previous marriages have ended. You may also be required to complete a statutory declaration document to provide further information about your background and situation.

Types of marriage

Australia recognises the “common law” marriage, according to which civil marriage is not mandatory. This type of marriage can be celebrated by a civil status officer or by a minister of authorised worship. Both spouses must be at least eighteen years old. If the husband is more than eighteen years old while the wife is sixteen years old, marriage is authorised, but only if she has her parents' or a legal representative's consent.

Overseas marriage

If you are married overseas, the marriage will be recognised by the Australian government, as long as the marriage was considered valid by the country in which it occurred. Overseas marriages do not have to be registered with the Australian government, as long as you have a marriage certificate from the country in which it occurred.

If a marriage has occurred overseas, this will not automatically result in a visa to live in Australia, so consult the Department of Immigration for more information regarding your options.

Matrimonial regimes

The most common matrimonial regime in Australia is the legal regime, with the concept of pure and simple separation of property. According to this regime, each spouse manages freely his personal property. However, in the case of dissolution of marriage, goods are shared equally.

The conventional regime specifies that the two spouses can freely conclude matrimonial conventions before or after their marriage. According to this regime, spouses may administrate and attribute their property. Nevertheless, in case of dissolution of marriage, they can predict alimony or a financial compensation.

The "de facto marriage" is also recognised in Australia. In the case of dissolution, the judge must take into account the duration of the relationship, the financial cooperation between the two parties, the existence of a community of roof and bed, as well as the notoriety of the relationship and the nurturing of children, if there are any.


You can file for divorce in the case of rupture of common life with your partner or spouse during a period of twelve months without the perspective of reconciliation. If you have been married for less than two years and you are separated from your spouse for twelve months, you can request divorce even if it was interrupted by a period of reconciliation of less than three months. Note that divorce will only be granted when problems related to the separation, including parental authority, the place of residence of children, alimony and division of matrimonial property are settled.

 Useful links:

Government of Australia: Getting married
Attorney General's Office: Getting married

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