Last updated 5 September 2022

Marriage is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life (s 5 Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (Marriage Act)). A person who is 18 years or older can marry without the consent of anyone else (s 11 Marriage Act).

A child between 16 and 18 years of age can marry in exceptional circumstances, but either the written consent of their parent(s) or guardian(s) is required, or there must be a dispensation of this requirement by a prescribed authority.

If written consent is unreasonably withheld, a judge or magistrate or judge may give the necessary consent (ss 12–16 Marriage Act). Consent will only be granted in exceptional and unusual circumstances. Pregnancy is not, by itself, an exceptional or unusual circumstance, but it may be a factor of importance.