Getting Married Young: What is the Legal Age of Marriage in Australia

Marriage is a significant life milestone that many individuals contemplate, but it's essential to understand the legal framework surrounding it. In Australia, the legal age of marriage is a crucial consideration for those planning to tie the knot at a young age. In this blog post, we delve into the legal age of marriage in Australia, exploring its significance and implications for couples.

Understanding the Legal Age of Marriage in Australia

The legal age of marriage in Australia is governed by the Marriage Act 1961, which establishes the minimum age at which individuals can lawfully marry. It's important to note that the legal age of marriage can vary depending on certain circumstances and requirements outlined in the legislation.

Minimum Age Requirement

The general rule under Australian law is that individuals must be at least 18 years old to marry without parental consent. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Individuals aged 16 or 17 may be permitted to marry with the consent of a parent or guardian and approval from a court.

Exceptions and Considerations

However, if someone is aged 16 or 17, they may marry a person who is 18 years or older in some very rare circumstances.

If you are 16 or 17, you cannot marry another person under the age of 18.

The minimum requirements are:

  • A judge or magistrate must issue an order authorising the marriage to a specific person who is 18 years or older.
  • Consent from parents or guardians must be obtained, or it has been determined that their consent is not required.

When considering whether to grant permission for the marriage, the judge or magistrate assesses various factors to ensure that the circumstances of the case are “exceptional and unusual”.

These factors may include:

  • The maturity level of the individuals involved.
  • The duration of their relationship.
  • Their financial situation
  • Their level of independence as a couple.
  • Their reasons for wanting to marry, and their families’ opinions.

If permission is granted, the marriage must occur within three months of the court order.

Applications for minors to marry are typically submitted to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and can be found on the Australian Government marriage resource site.

Navigating Marriage at a Young Age

Legal Protections

While the legal age of marriage serves to safeguard individuals from entering into unions prematurely, it's essential to recognise that some young people may choose to marry for various reasons. In such cases, legal protections are in place to ensure that minors are not coerced or forced into marriage against their will.

Educational and Support Resources

Young individuals contemplating marriage can benefit from accessing educational resources such as the Queensland government website and seeking support from trusted adults, community organisations and legal professionals. Understanding the legal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage is critical for informed decision-making.

Need Legal Assistance Regarding the Legal Age of Marriage in Australia?

In conclusion, the legal age of marriage in Australia serves as a fundamental safeguard to protect individuals, particularly young people, from entering into marriage prematurely. While the general minimum age requirement is 18 years old, exceptions may apply under specific circumstances with parental consent and court approval, allowing individuals aged 16 or 17 to marry. Navigating marriage at a young age requires careful consideration, support, and understanding of the complexities and legalities of marriage to ensure informed decision-making. If you have questions or concerns about the legal age of marriage in Australia, don't hesitate to contact Pullos Lawyers. Our experienced team is here to provide expert legal guidance and support to help you navigate the complexities of family law with confidence and clarity. We can also offer support and legal expertise across a number of Queensland family law matters including divorce and separation, parenting, property settlements, and financial agreements.