Legal requirements for getting married

You cannot be married already or in a civil union with a person other than the person you will be marrying. If you have been previously married, the marriage must have been dissolved by a court of law.

To marry, a person must be aged 16 or over, (although parental consent is still required if either party is 16 or 17 years old).

The couple must not be closely related by blood, marriage or adoption. Details of these "prohibited'' marriages appear on the form Notice of Intended Marriage, which is used when applying for a marriage licence.

Marriages registered in other countries will generally be recognised as marriages in New Zealand.

There are two types of marriage ceremony. Those solemnised by a Registrar of Marriages in a Registry Office and those solemnised by an authorised marriage celebrant elsewhere.

Registry Office ceremonies are not open to the public but there is no legal requirement that a ceremony before a marriage celebrant be open to the public.

Registry Office ceremonies take place during normal office hours, but you can have a marriage celebrant perform your marriage ceremony at any time, on any day of the week.

During the ceremony, and before at least two witnesses, each party must say the words I, ..., take you, ..., to be my legal wife/husband'' or words to similar effect.

You will need to know when and where you want to get married when you complete your application for a marriage licence. You should also choose an alternative venue in the event that the weather prevents you from marrying at your primary venue.

In New Zealand you must be married by an appointed marriage celebrant. This may be a Registrar of Marriages, an independent marriage celebrant, a minister of a church or a person connected with an approved organisation.

Contact a Registrar of Marriages for a list of appointed marriage celebrants.

You will need to contact your marriage celebrant and agree on a time and place before applying for your marriage licence.

To get a licence you will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage application form. If either of you have been married or in a civil union before and the marriage or civil union has been dissolved, you will be asked to produce evidence of the dissolution when you give notice to the Registrar. If your previous spouse or partner has died you do not have to produce evidence of their death, but you will have to give the date of death on the Notice of Intended Marriage.

As part of completing the application form for a marriage licence, you need to make a statutory declaration.

Either you or your partner will need to make a formal declaration that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage (i.e. no legal reason that you both cannot be married), that the details given are true, that the bride and groom are not within the "prohibited degrees of relationship'' and that consent has been given (where relevant).

If you live in New Zealand one of you must make this declaration in the presence of a Registrar of Marriages.

The contact details for your nearest Registrar of Marriages can be obtained by contacting the District Court for their addresses.

You should advise the Registrar of the date that you intend to collect the marriage licence (this must be at least three days after your completed form reaches the Registrar).

If you wish for your marriage to be conducted at the Registry Office, you must pay a fee of $173.70 when you send in or hand over the completed Notice of Intended Marriage form. This includes the fee for the marriage licence and the ceremony.

If you wish for your marriage to be conducted by a marriage celebrant, you must pay a fee of $122.60 when you send in or hand over the completed form. This includes the fee for the marriage licence but does not include the celebrant's own costs.

A marriage licence is normally issued no sooner than three calendar days after the completed Notice of Intended

Marriage form is submitted and the fee has been paid.

A marriage licence is valid for three months from the date on which it is issued.

During that period you are free to marry at the place or places specified on the marriage licence.

If you change your appointed marriage celebrant or your venue before the marriage has taken place, you must advise the Registry Office from where your licence was obtained.

At the conclusion of the ceremony you will be handed a signed copy of the "Particulars of Marriage''. A second copy will be returned to the issuing Registrar by your marriage celebrant.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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