Second to choosing a wedding dress or getting everyone’s RSVPs to your special day, completing the NOIM, the Notice of Intended Marriage, is probably the hardest thing you’ve got to do to be married.

Why?

The NOIM is the hardest thing you’ve got to do because it’s one of the most important, plus, you can’t fill one out until you decide who’s marrying you.

You need to decide if you’re having a religious ceremony, or a civil ceremony. What kind of celebrant are you looking for, where do you even find one? Is the author of this blog a good celebrant? What even makes a good celebrant?

I recommend hiring a celebrant that fits both your, and your partners, characters and personalities. So the ceremony will be as reflective of you as possible.

But this blog isn’t about choosing a celebrant, it’s about completing the NOIM.

You can’t complete a NOIM until you have found a celebrant, agreed on their pricing and terms, and locked in a date.

After all of the important details are organised, you need a number of things to complete your NOIM.

Proof of date and place of birth

You need to be able to prove to your celebrant that you exist. Documentation that helps prove this includes

  • an official certificate, or an official extract of an entry in an official register, showing the date and place of birth of each party
    • Australian or international
  • or, a statutory declaration made by the party or a parent of the party stating that, for reasons specified in the declaration, it is impracticable to obtain such a certificate or extract and stating, to the best of the declarant’s knowledge and belief and as accurately as the declarant has been able to ascertain, when and where the party was born
  • or, a passport showing the date and place of birth of the party.

The following documents do not cut the identification mustard:

  • a faxed/photocopy of an original birth certificate or extract
  • a certified copy of an original document
  • an Australian citizenship certificate.

This proof of date and place of birth should be provided at the time the NOIM is completed, but it is acceptable for the celebrant to receive this at any time up until the marriage is solemnised (solemnised means performed.) It is acceptable for the celebrant to sight faxed, emailed or photocopied copies of the paperwork until such time that originals can be sighted before the marriage is solemnised.

In short, Australian citizens must provide a birth certificate or passport, if you don’t already have one, you can apply for one at your state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages office or the court house. This is at your own cost and responsibility.

People not born in Australia, even if you are now a citizen, must provide their birth certificate, or their passport issued by an international government that shows date and place of birth, or a statutory declaration as stated earlier.

It is an offence for a celebrant to solemnise a marriage before he or she has sighted original and sufficient proof of place and date of birth.

Proof of identification

The Marriage Act states that your marriage celebrant should not solemnise a marriage until he or she is satisfied that both parties are who they claim to be.

Your celebrant may need to certify your identity, in which case the following proofs of identification will suffice.

  • a driver’s licence
  • a Proof of Age/Photo Card
  • a passport
  • an Australian citizenship certificate along with another form of photographic evidence.

Proof that you are not already validly married

If you have already been married, evidence of death, nullity or dissolution will need to be provided to the celebrant.

Facebook relationship status updates unfortunately do not apply here.

Anything else?

Your marriage celebrant also needs to verify two important, and possibly awkward things:

  • The bride and bridegrooom are not related. Tasmanian celebrant’s may overlook this.
  • Both parties are over 18, or if not, parental or court consent has been received.

Signing the NOIM

Generally the NOIM will be signed by both parties being married, and witnessed by the celebrant. The marriage act does allow for one party to sign before the due date as long as the second party can sign before the marriage is solemnised. The NOIM must be signed, witnessed, and delivered to a celebrant before one month before the wedding.

This allows for interstate or overseas partners to be married.

Witnessing a NOIM being signed

If the couple cannot complete the NOIM in the presence of their celebrant, it will need to be signed and witnessed by one of the following authorities:

  • an authorised celebrant
  • a Commissioner for Declarations under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959
  • a justice of the peace
  • a barrister or solicitor
  • a legally qualified medical practitioner
  • a member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory.

If the couple are overseas and cannot be back in Australia before the due date of the NOIM, it can be completed and witnessed overseas under the watchful eye of one of the following authorities

  • an Australian Diplomatic Officer
  • an Australian Consular Officer
  • a notary public
  • an employee of the Commonwealth authorized under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
  • an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.

The Attorney-General’s office has warned celebrants strongly against performing surprise weddings. This exemption of one party not having to sign before one month before can only exist if the celebrant is satisfied it is not a surprise wedding.

Due date of the Notice of Intended Marriage

Form 13, the Notice of Intended Marriage, must be given to the authorised celebrant in the following timeframe.

  • No earlier than 18 months, a year and a half, before the wedding day.
  • No later than 1 month before the wedding day.

There are five circumstances where an exception can be made to the due date:

  • employment related or other travel commitments
  • wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
  • medical reasons
  • legal proceedings
  • error in giving notice

If you want to be married with less than 30 days notice, you must know:

  • the reason for seeking a shortening of time must fall within one of the five categories described above before the application can be considered
  • the prescribed authority has no discretion to grant a shortening of time outside the circumstances covered by these categories
  • and the granting of a shortening of time is not automatic

Application for this shortening of time must be made to a “Prescribed authority”. You can search for a prescribed authority close to you on the Attorney-General’s website: http://www.ag.gov.au/Marriage/Gettingmarried/Pages/PrescribedAuthorities.aspx

Changing Celebrants?

You can transfer your NOIM to a different celebrant, simply by transferring the already completed NOIM, but the new celebrant may need to satisfy themselves with the proof of date and place of birth and also proof of identification.