Legal Series: Fun facts about Marriage and Divorce

Legal series: fun facts about marriage and divorce

Marriage and divorce are two subjects of conversation that are always shrouded in questions, speculation, and myth. Some like to say that 90% of marriages end in divorce; others love to serially attend weddings (27 Dresses style).

Regardless of what your beliefs are, there are some interesting pieces of information available surrounding the elusive ritual of marriage and the confusing trial of divorce – here are a select few of them.
Legal requirements for marriage in Australia
Marriage Act 1961
4.29. Under the Marriage Act 1961,
Marriages may be celebrated by a minister of religion registered as an authorised celebrant, by a State Registrar, or by other persons authorised by the Attorney-General.
Notice of the intended marriage must be given to the celebrant at least one month but not more than six months before the marriage.
A celebrant is required to transmit within 14 days an official certificate of the marriage for registration to a district registrar in the State in which the marriage took place.
The 1961 Act also introduced uniform minimum ages at marriage of 18 for males and 16 for females. Marriages of minors (for males aged 16 or 17 and for females aged 14 or 15) were allowed only if a judge or magistrate issued an order permitting the marriage. Further amendments to the Marriage Act in 1991 brought the minimum ages for females into line with those for males. They designated the minimum age at which persons are legally able to marry to be 18 years. Persons aged 16 and 17 years may marry with parental or guardian consent and an order from a judge or magistrate. Any two persons under the age of 18 years may not marry each other.

Traditional weddings in different countries

With different countries comes different cultures; with different cultures comes different marriage ceremonies. In Greece, the bride wears a yellow or red veil to represent fire. In China, the bride was traditionally carried to the groom’s house on the back of a sedan chair, and in Vegas in the United States, an Elvis impersonator marries couples and wishes them well with a tune or two.

Different divorce laws in different countries

Much like different countries have different wedding traditions, different countries also have different divorce laws. The Philippines does not allow divorce (only annulments), while divorces in India can take up to four years to be finalised due to the tricky procedures. In countries like the United States and Australia, divorce laws even differ from state to state – for example, laws regarding divorce in NSW are different to those governing Queensland or Victoria.

Bizarre, interesting, and downright odd facts about weddings

Did you know…

·         25% of couples have themed weddings

·         Only one out of every ten brides doesn’t wear the traditional white or ivory dress

·         While it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, eight per cent of grooms get a prewedding peek

·         Only two per cent of bridesmaids will ever wear their dresses again

It’s not all gloom and doom

These days, society seems to think divorces happen left, right, and centre, but the statistics aren’t nearly as bad as you think. Many Australians believe half of marriages end in divorce – the truth is, only one in three marriages ends in divorce, and these numbers are actually declining. The seven year itch is also a myth – if marriages break down, the average time taken is actually 12.3 years in Australia.

Also, divorces don’t have to cost excessive amounts. In fact, there are plenty of tools to help deal with divorces and the tricky legal matters associated with it – websites can help with DIY divorce solutions, and there is an abundance of information available on the internet if you’re feeling confused too.

Kay Price is a writer who has been to too many themed weddings in her lifetime.

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