SHORTENING OF TIME

So this isn’t about time travel or Dr Who, this page is what to do if you have less than a month before your marriage date and the paperwork hasn’t been done or is incorrect.

Many Celebrants come to this page for help but it is best that you speak to me and I will guide you through.

Under the Marriage Act (1961), for a Marriage to occur in Australia, the couple must lodge a Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with the authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months, and no later than one month, before the date of the marriage.

Situations arise, however, from time to time where a couple has a need to shorten the One Month notice period before marriage, and following application, under specific extraordinary circumstances, a Prescribed Authority may, under the Marriage Act (1961), authorise the marriage to occur even if the notice was lodged later than a month before the Ceremony.

Interestingly, NSW has 150 Prescribed Authorities while Queensland has only 7. I am based in NSW South Coast and the nearest PA is at Milton Local Court just 30 minutes away.

Woohoo , does that mean we can get married tomorrow?

Not necessarily as a Shortening Of Time is only granted in 5 extraordinary circumstances:

What are the circumstances where a Shortening Of Time may be granted?


OK, so what now?
Here are the 5 steps necessary to provide the best opportunity of success in an application to a Prescribed Authority for a Shortening Of Time:

 

What steps are involved to secure a Shortening of Time?


What steps are involved to secure a Shortening of Time?


Step 1: Check that your circumstances

Check that your reason for applying for shortening of notice meets the required circumstances outlined in the Marriage Regulations.

There are only 5 circumstances applicable and a shortening of time will ONLY be granted if there is sufficient evidence to show that your personal circumstances satisfies the criteria :

  1. employment related or other travel commitments
  2. wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
  3. medical reasons
  4. legal proceedings, or
  5. Error in giving notice

Step 2: Lodge your NOIM

Lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM).

This will include my witnessing you signing the NOIM.

I will then hand you:

  • the signed, complete and lodged  NOIM for you to take to a Prescribed Authority, (this one is the one and only circumstances where I release the NOIM),
  • a letter stating that:
    • I am available to solemnise your marriage on the intended day if the shortening of time is granted.
    • a fee has been paid to me for the lodgement of the NOIM
    • I have been given an explanation as to why a shortening of time is required, together with an outline of the need
  • Completed Declaration of No impediment to Marriage, witnessed by the Celebrant (me)

Step 3: Prepare your evidence.

This may include completing any Application form (NSW BDM doesn’t have one) required by the Prescribed Authority or your writing a letter arguing your case for a Shortening of Time.

The evidence will include all of the following:

  1. Application/letter or Statutory Declaration,
  2. the NOIM,
  3. Celebrant’s letter,
  4. proof of birth documents,
  5. photo ID documents,
  6. your evidence of how the last marriage ended (if you were previously married),
  7. completed Declaration of No Impediment to Marriage witnessed by the Celebrant
  8. all documentary evidence to support your application including, where relevant to the circumstances :
    • letter from employer
    • booking receipts confirming travel commitments
    • Passports
    • Evidence of religious considerations
    • medical certificates/letter from a doctor and/or medical reports
    • details & documents relating to legal proceedings,
    • booking receipts for non-refundable payments to a venue and/or other vendors if the circumstance is wedding/celebration arrangements
    • wedding invitations if the circumstance is wedding/celebration arrangements
    • proof there was an error in giving notice

Step 4: Attend a Prescribed Authority

Prescribed Authorities are usually local courts and the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages.

You will need to make an appointment to attend the Prescribed Authority and take with you:

The evidence will include all of the following:

  1. Application/letter or Statutory Declaration,
  2. the NOIM,
  3. Celebrant’s letter,
  4. proof of birth documents,
  5. photo ID documents,
  6. your evidence of how the last marriage ended (if you were previously married),
  7. completed Declaration of No Impediment to Marriage witnessed by the Celebrant
  8. all documentary evidence to support your application including, where relevant to the circumstances :
    • letter from employer
    • booking receipts confirming travel commitments
    • Passports
    • Evidence of religious considerations
    • medical certificates/letter from a doctor and/or medical reports
    • details & documents relating to legal proceedings,
    • booking receipts for non-refundable payments to a venue and/or other vendors if the circumstance is wedding/celebration arrangements
    • wedding invitations if the circumstance is wedding/celebration arrangements
    • proof there was an error in giving notice

The Prescribed Authority will determine whether or not your application can be granted.

If the prescribed authority is satisfied that the relevant circumstance for shortening the notice period to less than one month has been met, they will:

  • make a note in the box provided at the foot of the NOIM on page four,
  • sign it,
  • add his or her designation and
  • add the words ‘Prescribed Authority’ and
  • write the date

Step 5: Return the NOIM to your celebrant

Return the NOIM and Declaration of No impediment to Marriage, to me, your celebrant, so that, if the authority was granted, we can proceed to solemnise your marriage on the intended (shortened) date.


(pic from Huffington post)


What are the circumstances where a Shortening Of Time may be granted?

The list is below with an elaboration on each

There are only 5 circumstances applicable:

  1. employment-related or other travel commitments
  2. wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
  3. medical reasons
  4. Legal proceedings
  5. Error in giving notice

1        Employment‑related or other travel commitments

(1)  The marriage should be solemnised despite the required notice not having been received in time because a party to the marriage or someone involved with the proposed wedding:

(a)  has employment commitments that require the party’s absence from the location of the proposed wedding for a considerable period of time; or

(b)  has other travel commitments.

Example 1: A party to the marriage has accepted an offer of employment for imminent transfer or posting overseas or to a part of Australia distant from the location of the proposed wedding for at least 3 months, and wishes to be married with the party’s family and friends present before the departure.

Example 2: A party to the marriage realises that a close relative or friend of the party is in Australia but the relative or friend has a non‑redeemable ticket for departure from Australia within less than a month, and the party wishes the relative or friend to be present at the wedding.

(2)  In determining whether a circumstance in subclause (1) is met, the prescribed authority may take into account the following:

(a)  documents relating to the employment commitments of a party to the marriage such as a letter of offer and a letter of acceptance;

(b)  documents relating to the travel of a person such as a dated receipt or a ticket;

(c)  any explanation provided for not giving the notice sooner;

(d)  any explanation provided for not postponing the proposed wedding;

(e)  whether hardship would be caused to a party to the marriage if the marriage is not solemnised as proposed;

(f)  any other matter that the prescribed authority considers relevant.

2        Wedding or celebration arrangements

(1)  The marriage should be solemnised despite the required notice not having been received in time because of:

(a)  the binding nature of the wedding arrangements or celebration arrangements made in connection with the marriage; or

(b)  any religious consideration.

Example:    Arrangements and non‑refundable payments of a considerable sum have been made for the proposed wedding, or for any celebration associated with the marriage, and the date for the wedding or celebration cannot be changed.

(2)  In determining whether a circumstance in subclause (1) is met, the prescribed authority may take into account the following:

(a)  documents showing the extent of preparations for the proposed wedding, such as receipts showing dates and amounts of payments connected with the wedding;

(b)  in the case of a religious consideration—the nature of the consideration;

(c)  any explanation provided for not giving the notice sooner;

(d)  any explanation provided for not postponing the proposed wedding;

(e)  whether hardship would be caused to a party to the marriage if the marriage is not solemnised as proposed;

(f)  any other matter that the prescribed authority considers relevant.

3        Medical reasons

(1)  The marriage should be solemnised despite the required notice not having been received in time because a party to the marriage, or someone involved with the proposed wedding, is suffering from a medical condition of a serious nature.

Example:    A party to the marriage, or a parent or close relative of the party, has a serious illness that will prevent the person from attending the wedding unless it is held in less than a month.

(2)  In determining whether the circumstance in subclause (1) is met, the prescribed authority may take into account the following:

(a)  a letter from a medical practitioner or other health professional confirming the relevant health circumstances of a party to the marriage or a person involved with the proposed wedding;

(b)  any explanation provided for not giving the notice sooner;

(c)  any other matter that the prescribed authority considers relevant.

4        Legal proceedings

(1)  The marriage should be solemnised despite the required notice not having been received in time because a party to the marriage is involved in a legal proceeding.

Example:    A party to the marriage is subject to a pending court proceeding, and is at risk of imprisonment.

(2)  In determining whether the circumstance in subclause (1) is met, the prescribed authority may take into account the following:

(a)  a sealed copy of any applicable court order;

(b)  a letter from the party’s solicitor stating the dates and nature of a pending court proceeding;

(c)  any explanation provided for not giving the notice sooner;

(d)  any explanation provided for not postponing the proposed wedding;

(e)  whether hardship would be caused to a party to the marriage if the marriage is not solemnised as proposed;

(f)  any other matter that the prescribed authority considers relevant.

5        Error in giving notice

(1)  The marriage should be solemnised despite the required notice not having been received in time because:

(a)  it was due only to error on the part of an authorised celebrant (or a person the parties to the marriage believed to be an authorised celebrant) that:

(i)  the notice was not given; or

(ii)  the notice given was invalid; or

(iii)  a notice given earlier was lost; and

(b)  arrangements have been made for the proposed wedding to take place within less than one month.

Example 1: The parties have given significant notice to the authorised celebrant orally, and arrangements for the proposed wedding have been made, but written notice was not given in the required time because the authorised celebrant failed to explain the notice requirements properly.

Example 2: The parties have given written notice in the required time, and arrangements for the proposed wedding have been made, but the notice is invalid because the person to whom the notice was given was not yet registered as a marriage celebrant.

Example 3: The parties gave written notice in the required time, and arrangements for celebrations have been made to follow the marriage ceremony, but the original notice was lost by the authorised celebrant and the replacement notice was not given in the required time.

(2)  In determining whether the circumstance in subclause (1) is met, the prescribed authority may take into account the following:

(a)  documents confirming why the notice was not given, such as a letter confirming an earlier interview between the authorised celebrant and the parties to the marriage;

(b)  a letter from the person to whom the notice was given explaining why the notice was invalid or lost;

(c)  documents showing the arrangements made in connection with the proposed wedding;

(d)  any other matter that the prescribed authority considers relevant.


You will find lots more questions answered on my webpage where you will find lots more interesting and useful information including:


This webpage and all of its contents were written for the purposes of copyright,  Created by Lou Szymkow,  for A Life Celebrant–Lou Szymkow, www.alifecelebrant.com.au,
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Lou Szymkow – A Life Celebrant

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