How do I change my name after marriage?

In Queensland, the registered marriage certificate as an official proof of identity document when telling organisations about a name change. Nowadays the Ceremonial Certificate supplied at your wedding is not enough for most organisations, so you’ll need to apply for a Marriage Certificate through Qld Births, Deaths and Marriages.

 Here is a link with all the information: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/births-deaths-marriages-and-divorces/changing-your-name/changing-your-name-through-marriage/

Your Legal Obligations

Under the Marriage Act 1961 there are certain obligations that you, as a couple intending to get married, must meet prior to a marriage ceremony being solemnised.

A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be lodged with your chosen Marriage Celebrant no less than one month and no more than eighteen months prior to the marriage being solemnised.

Under normal circumstances the Notice of Intended Marriage form would be completed at your first meeting with your Marriage Celebrant and the required documentation must be produced to him/her at that time, or certainly before the marriage can take place. Both parties are required to give a minimum one month notice by signing and lodging the NOIM. There are some exceptions; for instance if a partner is overseas or interstate and only one can sign a month before the wedding day that is acceptable. However, if these circumstances do not exist then both parties are required to sign one month before.

Parties to a marriage must produce evidence of date and place of birth and this can be done by producing a birth certificate, or an extract of a birth certificate, or an Australian or Overseas passport. Persons born overseas, who cannot produce such original documents under some circumstances can make a statutory declaration as to details of date and place of birth. IMPORTANT: A statutory declaration can only be used in extreme cases, i.e. circumstances where social upheaval due to political situations such as civil war, or in instances of natural disaster have led to the destruction and/or unavailability of civil records. The declaration must show cause why you can't obtain the documents. 

In the case of persons previously married, an original copy of your Divorce Certificate or, if applicable a Court Annulment Certificate; the case of widowhood, an original copy of the Death Certificate must be produced. These documents MUST be produced before the marriage can take place. It is essential that you allow yourself adequate time to acquire them if you have misplaced them. 

Prior to your wedding, both parties will be required to sign a declaration, under the Marriage Act 1961, stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to the marriage between yourself and your partner. This is a legal document and calls for honesty at all times. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information.

SHORTENING OF TIME

A prescribed authority may authorise a marriage to be solemnised despite the authorised celebrant receiving the NOIM within one month of the date of the marriage.  A list of prescribed authorities is published on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

WHEN CAN A PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY CONSIDER A SHORTENING OF TIME REQUEST?
The five circumstances in which an application for shortening of time may be considered by a prescribed authority are set out in Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth). These are limited to:
•    employment related or other travel commitments
•    wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
•    medical reasons
•    legal proceedings, or
•    an error in giving notice.

WHAT SHOULD AN AUTHORISED CELEBRANT DO IF A COUPLE WANTS THEIR MARRIAGE SOLEMNISED LESS THAN ONE MONTH AFTER THE CELEBRANT RECEIVES THE NOIM?
If the parties to an intended marriage have not provided the NOIM to the authorised celebrant with the minimum one month’s notice, they will need to apply to a prescribed authority for authorisation before the celebrant can make or confirm any arrangements to marry them.  
Where an authorised celebrant is asked to reduce the minimum notice period for the NOIM, the celebrant should see that the NOIM is in order and then refer the party or parties with the notice to a prescribed authority. The authorised celebrant should explain the following key points to the couple:
•    the reason for seeking a shortening of time must fall within one of the categories described above before the application can be considered
•    a prescribed authority has no discretion to grant a shortening of time outside the circumstances covered by these categories
•    the granting of a shortening of time is not automatic, and
•    a prescribed authority may charge an application fee – celebrants should suggest that the couple check if a fee is charged when making an appointment.
The authorised celebrant should also advise the parties to the marriage to make an appointment with the prescribed authority and to take the completed NOIM and any other documentary evidence to prove why they require a shortening of time (for example, medical certificates or a travel itinerary). This is the only circumstance in which a celebrant should release the completed NOIM to the parties to the intended marriage. Parties should return the NOIM to the celebrant after a shortening of time is obtained.

WHAT CASES FALL WITHIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN A SHORTENING OF TIME MAY BE GRANTED?
Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations provides examples of each of the given sets of circumstances. Whether a particular situation falls within one of these is a matter for the prescribed authority, not the authorised celebrant. The department is unable to provide advice on particular situations other than to provide the information in these Guidelines and the Marriage Regulations.  

WHAT SORT OF MATERIAL WILL THE PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY REQUIRE TO CONSIDER THE APPLICATION?
The Marriage Regulations list a number of matters the prescribed authority may take into account and material they may request when making the decision. Authorised celebrants should advise couples to put together this material before approaching the prescribed authority.
Such material should include a letter from a medical practitioner if they are seeking a shortening of time on medical grounds, or receipts for payments or wedding invitations if the circumstance is wedding or celebration arrangements. The prescribed authority will be looking at the dates payments were made or invitations sent to gauge the genuineness of the need to shorten time.
If the circumstance relates to relocation for employment the prescribed authority will be looking for evidence of the date on which the applicant was informed of the posting or employment relocation as opposed to the date on which the posting is to commence (unless the posting or employment relocation has been brought forward).  
Error in giving notice relates only to error on the part of the authorised celebrant, not the couple. For example, the celebrant may not have fulfilled their obligation to explain the notice requirements properly. Error in giving notice also includes invalid, stale or lost NOIMs. An example of an invalid notice would include a NOIM given to a person who was not an authorised celebrant. A reference to a lost NOIM refers to a notice that has been lost by the authorised celebrant not the couple.  

HOW DOES THE PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY GRANT A SHORTENING OF TIME?
If the prescribed authority is satisfied that the relevant circumstance for shortening the notice period to less than one month has been met, they will make a note in the box provided at the foot of the NOIM on page four, sign it, add his or her designation and the words ‘Prescribed Authority’ and write the date. The original NOIM should then be given by the parties to the proposed authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised. 

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You probably have other questions about engaging a marriage celebrant. Celebrants Australia Inc. gives a wide ranging response to many of the things you want to know. Click on the link below to help you out.

Things you want to know about Marriage Celebrants

Silvia and Dave celebrating after a rainforest wedding on Tamborine Mountain

Silvia and Dave celebrating after a rainforest wedding on Tamborine Mountain