Family Law

What makes an overseas marriage valid?

Published in: October 2017

In order for a marriage solemnised overseas to be valid in Australia, the marriage must conform to the legal requirements of the country in which the marriage is held. If no such laws exist, then the vows must be performed before an episcopally ordained priest and generally should also include the following:

·         the ceremony was documented and witnessed

·         vows were exchanged before an ordained priest.

If the basic common law parameters are met, then the marriage will usually be recognised in Australia as valid.

On the other hand, if the marriage took place during a period of civil strife such as the breakdown of the civilian authority, or during a period of armed conflict within the country in question, then it may be impossible to conform with the local requirements, and as a consequence, the marriage may not be recognised as valid in Australia.

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