Shortening of Time
When can I be married with less than one month Notice in Australia?
To be legally married in Australia, there is a legal process to be followed. The first step in this process is for you to lodge a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ (NOIM) with your celebrant. You can then get married from one calendar month after the date of lodgement, to 18 months from the day of lodgement.
eg. You lodge your NOIM with your celebrant on the 13th March, 2022. The earliest you can be married is 13thApril, 2022, and the latest is 13th September, 2023.
If circumstances change and you need to be married after 13th September 2023, you would need to fill out and lodge another NOIM.
So using the above example, what happens if you need to be married before 13th April, 2022 (i.e. you cannot wait the 30 days?)
This is when a ‘Shortening of Time’ may (or may not) be applicable for you.
There are limited and specific circumstances in which you can be married without the 30 days required Notice and there is a bit of a process to follow with no guarantee of a positive outcome.
Broadly, the reasons fall into the following categories:
- employment-related or travel commitments
- wedding or celebration arrangements
- medical reasons
- legal proceedings
- error in giving notice
For more detail and to see the Commonwealth legislation (Part 6, Schedule 30) click here.
If you believe you have a legitimate reason under one of the above categories to qualify for a ‘Shortening of Time’ (be married with less than the required one calendar month notice), your celebrant will help guide you through the next steps.
Please note, your celebrant cannot authorise a Shortening of Time but can guide you through what you need to do.
The Shortening of Time is not automatic or guaranteed, and cannot be granted if the reason falls outside one of the above reasons listed.
Your celebrant may provide you with a letter stating that they have received your NOIM, sighted your identity documents and are willing and able to solemnise your marriage on a particular date that falls within the one month.
You will need to then make an appointment with a prescribed authority. You will need to gather all available evidence that supports your case and take it, along with the NOIM and the letter from your celebrant to this prescribed authority in order for them to assess your situation and either grant or reject your application for a Shortening of Time.
There may be a fee for your application which is usually not refundable even if your application is rejected, so be sure to clarify this with the authority when you make the appointment.
You must return the Notice of Intended Marriage to your celebrant after this process.
Some examples of evidence you can provide to the prescribed authority (also listed in the Marriage Regulations)
- If you are seeking a shortening of time on medical grounds, a letter from a medical practitioner
- If your circumstance falls under the wedding or celebration arrangements, any receipts for payments or wedding invitations- the prescribed authority will consider the dates payments have been made or invitations sent to gauge the genuineness of the need to shorten time
- If your circumstance relates to relocation for employment, the prescribed authority will seek evidence of the date on which the applicant was informed of the employment relocation
- Error in giving notice relates to an error on the part of the celebrant, not the couple.
If the prescribed authority is satisfied that the circumstance is genuine and the required evidence has been given supporting their case, they will make a note in the relevant box on the NOIM, signed and dated. The NOIM needs to then be given back to the celebrant, by the couple.
I hope this information has been useful! Please call me or email me if I can be of further assistance.