The Notice of Intended Marriage
In amongst all the really fun and exciting preparations for your wedding, the legal paperwork looms. It looks overwhelming and tedious. It doesn’t have to be! Your celebrant’s job (well part of the job) is ensuring that you are guided through this process stress- free, with all the necessary legal bits covered.
In this post, I want to explain the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) – what it is, why it’s needed, and how to fill it out. Your celebrant will guide you through all this as well.
So first things first. In Australia, couples wishing to be married need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with their chosen marriage celebrant at least one calendar month prior to your ceremony, but not more than 18 months prior.
Why do we have to fill out a NOIM?
Think of the NOIM as kind of a ‘cooling off period’. One of the reasons that the 1 month rule is in place is to prevent people from making a spontaneous, rash decision that they may come to regret later. It would not be ideal for couples to, say, meet one day and on the spur of the moment decide to get married that same night. This ain’t Vegas!
The NOIM is sent off to the Births Deaths and Marriages facility in the state/territory you are married in, in order for them to register your marriage. Your celebrant will send this off to them after the ceremony.
The NOIM is also a legal document that the Australian Bureau of Statistics- the ABS- uses to collate non- identifying statistics on marriage in general. As the ABS states: “Annual data is provided on the ages, marital status, country of birth and previous marriage details (number of marriages, how last marriage terminated; children) for the bridegroom and bride of each marriage registered in the reference year.”
And finally, the NOIM is how we, as celebrants authorised by the Attorney General’s Department, confirm your identity and your place and date of birth. This is important, as it is a legal union that is taking place. You need to be who you say you are!
What do we need in order to fill out the NOIM?
- Each of you will need to provide to the celebrant EITHER an original birth certificate (or an official extract of an entry in an official register showing place/date of birth) AND photo ID;
- OR a certificate of Australian Citizenship and photo ID;
- OR a passport, which serves the purpose of both identifying you through a photo as well as proving your date and place of birth.
- OR a statutory declaration relating to place and date of birth, only if it is practically impossible to obtain either of the above.
- If one of the parties has been married previously, they need to provide evidence of the end of the previous marriage (divorce certificate, death certificate, or evidence of annulment).
When can’t I marry?
- You need to both be over the age of 18, OR if one of you is not yet 18, you need an approval by a court (in Australia you must be at least 16 years of age to marry; and under no circumstances can 2 people under the age of 18 marry each other).
- In Australia, you cannot marry a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or sibling.
- If you are already married to someone else.
- You must understand what marriage means and be freely consenting to the marriage.
What if I am still waiting on a divorce?
You can still have the NOIM lodged if a divorce is pending, but the new marriage cannot be solemnised until evidence of divorce has been presented to the celebrant.
How do we fill out the NOIM?
Your celebrant will help you, either in person or via phone/email/Skype, but I’ve provided a sample NOIM below if you’d like to know more in advance.
As with any legal document, it needs to be filled out LEGIBLY and in BLACK or BLUE pen (if done by hand), and ACCURATELY. If the couple is able to meet up with me in person, that is fabulous- we usually meet at a quiet café, they bring their identity documents and evidence of date/place of birth and after we fill it out we have a more in depth conversation of what kind of ceremony they think they want. That’s a topic for another blog!
What if my partner is away and can’t get his/her signature witnessed within the one month period?
That’s OK, IF there is a genuine reason why it is impractical. For example, I have had couples where one party is in the armed forces and unable to have the NOIM witnessed as they are overseas in a remote location. The NOIM can be lodged with just one party to the marriage having signed it, as long as the other party signs it at some point in the presence of the celebrant, prior to the marriage being solemnised. The celebrant needs to ensure that the other party has full knowledge and consent to the marriage- no surprise weddings!
Here is a sample NOIM filled out with fake names and other details. I have just included the bits you are required to fill out (or your celebrant in conjunction with you). Pages 1 & 2 should be read by each party and can be found here.
Top of page 3- DO NOT fill any of this section out.
Middle bit of page 3 (example only- fake details used here):
Bottom of page 3 to be filled out ONLY if relevant to either party:
Top of page 4:
The remainder of the NOIM is filled out by your celebrant.
I hope this has helped!
Get in touch via email or give me a call today on 0404047313 to see how I can assist you!
You can find the latest version of the NOIM here.