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  • Writer's pictureMaria Nizeti

So, you want to get married overseas ?

Updated: Jul 4

Getting married overseas has become popular in the last few years. Some couples see overseas locations as exotic and romantic. Others see it as a wedding combined with a honeymoon however, what does it really mean to an Australian resident that is getting married overseas.

A lot of couples are wise and have a small legal wedding in Australia before heading overseas to have their beautiful dream wedding. This means that you are legally married in Australia and have another ceremony in your chosen location. For example, I have a beautiful Italian bride who is going to have a beautiful church wedding in Italy, however she and her fiancée will have their legal wedding in Australian before they leave.

Let me explain the reason why this is a wise decision. The marriage act of 1961 explains that a marriage certificate issued by a competent authority in a foreign country is evidence in Australia and validity of the marriage.

So, you might be thinking so what’s the problem? Well, as the act continues to explain couples should carefully retain their overseas marriage certificate as it may not be easy to replace it if it was to become lost. This certificate is the only evidence of an overseas wedding.

However, it is important to understand that an overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia. Therefore, it may not be possible to rely on a marriage certificate issued overseas for purposes in Australia. A couple whose marriage has taken place overseas may not be able to rely on an overseas marriage certificate to have an Australian drivers’ licence or an Australian passport issued in their married name. In plain English, in means you cannot take your partners name using an overseas marriage certificate.

If you have all your legal paperwork and wedding done in Australia, taking your partners name is so much easier. All you will need is an official marriage certificate from Birth, Death and Marriages which can only be issued if you are married in Australia.

I am sure you have more questions which I will be more than happy to answer. Send me a message or email me and I will be happy to answer all your questions.

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