This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Marriage of minors

A person aged over 16 but not yet 18 years must seek an order authorising their marriage.

Marriageable age

A person may marry if 18 years or more. Only one party to a marriage may be under 18 years.

A person of 16 years, but not yet 18 years, may marry if they have an order from a court and permission from a parent or legal guardian. If this permission is refused a judge or magistrate may make an an order authorising marriage.

An order will be granted if it is in the best interests of a minor for marriage to proceed.

The person of 16 years must satisfy the judge or magistrate that:

  • the applicant is 16 years
  • exceptional circumstances exist to justify making the order.

Marriage must be celebrated within 3 months of date of the order. After this, the order ceases to have effect.

If a minor has not previously been married they must also produce written consent from their parents (or guardian, if applicable).

The marriage must be celebrated within 3 months of the date of written consent.

If there is no consent from parents, for the marriage to proceed, the person must produce written consent from a judge or magistrate in place of their parents.

A judge or magistrate will give consent if they are satisfied that:

  • consent was refused unreasonably, and
  • it is in the best interests of the minor for marriage to proceed.

The marriage must take place within 3 months of date of signed consent.


The minor must produce a certificate from family and child counsellor, certifying applicant has received counselling regarding marriage.

More information


Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)

Part 2—Marriageable age and marriages of minors

  • s. 11—marriageable age
  • s. 12—authorisation of marriage of person under age of 18 years in exceptional circumstances
  • s. 13—marriage of minor not to be solemnized without consent of parents etc.
  • s. 13(1)(b)—the dispensation in writing signed by the prescribed authority
  • s. 16—consent by magistrate where parent etc. refuses consent etc.
  • s. 16(2a)—counselling certificate requirement
  • s. 20—effect of consent of magistrate or judge
  • s. 21—consent by magistrate or judge and dispensation with consent to be ineffective after 3 months etc.

See Marriage Act 1961 (Cth).

Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth)

  • r. 12(2)—notice of an application
  • Schedule 1—Forms
    • Form 2—Dispensation with consent to marriage of minor
    • Form 4—Notice of application to judge or magistrate for consent to marry
    • Form 5—Certificate by marriage counsellor
    • Form 5A—Consent of judge or magistrate on application under subsection 16(1)

See Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth).