Completing the Notice of Intended Marriage - Common Mistakes

 
The Notice of Intended Marriage is the first legal step to your marriage. You must complete this and lodge it with your chosen celebrant at least one full month before your wedding day, but it can be lodged up to 18 months (1½ years) before the marriage takes place.

While at first glance the form looks simple enough, there are some tricky bits, so almost everyone makes a mistake or two.  Not too much of a problem, as generally I pick them up and we correct them at the time you lodge the Notice with me, but completing the Notice correctly saves time, and it also looks much neater!

It is important that all information given on the Notice is correct and accurately reflects the information about you recorded in other government records, such as your birth certificate. While genuine errors can be corrected, any intentional false information attracts severe penalities.

Be aware that Registry Offices in Australia may refuse to register a marriage of a person born in Australia where the information on the Notice and the Marriage papers differs from your birth and other records.

Here is some advice to help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes

General Advice

 
  • Use Black ink. This is a legal form so Black ink is expected. You can get away with Dark Blue, but forget anything fancier. Better still, you can download and type into the Notice, and then print it out (back to back, please) ready to sign
  • Use Block Capitals. Handwriting causes reading errors!
  • Correct any mistake by drawing a single line through it and writing above or next to it. Initial the mistake in the margin. Do not use White-Out (a no-no on legal forms)
  • Do not sign until you are in front of your witness, and, if your chosen celebrant is not going to be witnessing your signatures, make sure the person you choose is eligible to witness the document.  The only eligible witnesses in Australia are:
    • Authorised celebrant
    • A Commissioner for Declarations
    • A Justice of the Peace (your local shopping centre may have this service several days a week)
    • A barrister or solicitor
    • A legally qualified medical practitioner (that is, a Medical Doctor or Medical Specialist)
    • A member of the Australian Federal Police or police force of State/Territory

Common Mistakes on Specific Questions

 
  • Question 2 - Family Name
    This must be as on your birth certificate, unless you have changed your surname by marriage (and are still using that name) or by legal name change.

  • Question 3 - Given names
    List your first name and all your middle names exactly as listed on your birth certificate. Write them in full, using the same spelling. Do not add any names that are not on your birth certificate, even if you commonly use them, unless you have legally changed your name. Also don't add any names that may have been added when you were baptised or confirmed.

  • Question 5 - Usual occupation
    In other words, your job, what you do, not the area you work in. So, if you are a Gardener, you should not write Gardening, for example.

  • Question 6 - Usual place of residence
    This is your street address where you are currently living. If you are in Australia, you need to give the state, but not the country. If living overseas you need to also give the country. 

  • Question 7 - Conjugal status
    If you have never been married before you need to tick the box for Never Validly Married  If your previous marriage has been annulled in a court, it is treated as if it never happened, so you tick Never Validly Married. If you are still married, but are going through a divorce, you tick the box Divorce Pending

  • Question 8 - Birthplace
    Check against your birth certificate. It gives the exact suburb. So while we are used to telling people we were born in Brisbane, or Sydney, or Melbourne, what is on our birth certificates is generally the suburb in which the hospital is located - so South Brisbane, Queensland or St Leonards, New South Wales, or Parkville, Victoria. If you were born outside Australia you need to specify the country as well as the exact suburb/town
  • Questions 15 and 16 - Parent Country of Birth
    Only the country. Be careful in the case of the UK. That's the political entity, the countries are England, Scotland, Wales, etc.
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