This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series Marriage Legalities
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The Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)

By Published On: June 11, 2021Categories: Marriage Legalities
This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series Marriage Legalities

Fair warning: I’m going to be writing a lot of articles about the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). When I teach celebrants about the marriage documentation, it takes me about 90 minutes to get through all the nuances of the NOIM. I want to make all of that information available for people getting married so you can understand why we’re asking for certain information and why we insist on it being correct. First up: what even is the NOIM and why do we complete it?

What is the NOIM?

The Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) is the beginning of the legal marriage process. It is the first document completed and signed by the couple and lodged with the celebrant. By lodging a completed NOIM with an authorised celebrant, a couple is telling the Australian Government (through the authorised celebrant as the Government’s representative) that they want to get married in at least one month and less than 18 months. I often say to my couples that I am the Government for this purpose 🙂

Why is the NOIM so comprehensive?

Name, address, occupation

The identifying information, like name, address, and occupation, is collected for identification and genealogical purposes. Personally I argue that occupation and residential address are less useful for identity purposes in the 21st century. When the marriage forms were first created in the 1960s, people often had the same job and lived in the same house for their entire lives. Their identities were made up of their name, occupation, and address. That’s not really a thing anymore, so I suggest this information is less useful from an identification perspective. There was even a move to drop these questions from the NOIM in 2017 that didn’t go down well. I guess I can see how it’s interesting from a family history/genealogical perspective.

Identification of the parties and evidence required

Your date and place of birth is actually what we as celebrants are required to see evidence of. Plus we are required to ensure the people named on the NOIM are the people we’re marrying; we usually do this through sighting a form of photo ID. We also need to sight and record evidence of the termination of your previous marriage (if relevant) on the NOIM.

Parents’ names

We collect your parents’ names for family history/genealogy purposes. They are also collected to link your identity on your marriage documents to your other documents such as your birth certificate. Parents’ names were also on the suggested chopping block in 2017, but family historians were up in arms so they remain.

Statistics

Much of the non-identifying information collected on the NOIM is also used for statistical purposes. Marriage and divorce statistics for the previous year are released at the end of November every year. So in November 2019 the statistics for marriages and divorces in 2018 were released. Marriage statistics release day is one of my favourite days on the calendar. If you didn’t know, I’m a massive nerd and I love this stuff. I write summary articles for celebrants on the statistics most years and I always find it fascinating. The information reported on includes number of marriages registered during the year, broken down into:

  • State or Territory of registration
  • gender of each of the parties
  • age group of each of the parties
  • month of the marriage, also broken down into State and Territory
  • previous marital status
  • type of marriage celebrant (religious or civil)
  • country of birth
  • median age at marriage by previous marital status
  • number of marriage equality marriages registered.

What if you don’t know the answer to one of the items on the NOIM?

The instructions on page 1 of the NOIM tell us:

If you are unable, after reasonable inquiry, to state any information required in the Notice, you should write ‘unknown’ in the relevant space on the form and give the authorised celebrant a statutory declaration explaining why you are unable to provide the information. A statutory declaration is not required for items 11 to 16. These items relate to the parents of the parties to the marrigae. Complete this section where applicable.

Honestly, I can’t imagine why anyone would not be able to state the information required in items 1-10:

  1. Description of the parties (partner, bride, groom)
  2. Family name
  3. Given name(s)
  4. Gender (female, male, non-binary)
  5. Usual occupation
  6. Usual place of residence
  7. Conjugal status
  8. Birthplace
  9. Date of birth
  10. Are the parties related?

But this provision exists that if you don’t know something, you can just give me a stat dec outlining why you don’t know it.

So that’s a brief overview of why we complete the NOIM and why the information is collected. In future posts I’m going to look closely at each section of the NOIM.

More information

Click here for a full overview of the legal requirements of marriage in Australia.

Click on this link to find all the posts in my series about marriage legalities.

If you’re a celebrant wanting help with marriage legalities, come and join us at the Celebrant Institute!

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