Does an overseas wedding make divorce harder?

Does an overseas wedding make divorce harder?

By cropped Clara Suki

· Read time: 3 minutes

Having an overseas wedding should not affect the status of a party’s marriage and should not make the divorce process any harder than it would be if the marriage had taken place in Australia. 

Generally, marriages entered into overseas by Australian citizens and permanent residents are recognised as valid if they are entered into properly in that overseas country.

This is because Australia is a signatory to the Hague Marriage Convention. This Convention means that couples who are married overseas have the same rights and obligations as those who are married in Australia. 

What should I be aware of if I want to have an overseas or destination wedding? 

If an individual is a permanent resident of Australia or an Australian citizen, there are certain things to keep in mind when having an overseas wedding. 

It is important to know the requirements of marriage in the place where the wedding will take place to ensure that the marriage is valid in that foreign country. The best way to ascertain these requirements would be to visit the website of, or contact the Australian embassy or High commission or Consulate in that other country. 

Generally, a foreign country will require that parties have certain documents before they are able to get married. Examples include providing documents that a person is not married already. In Australia, such a document is known as a ‘single status certificate’. This certificate is issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. 

Overseas Same Sex Marriages

Legal complications can arise where a same sex wedding has occurred in a foreign country where same sex marriage is not legally recognised.

Another document that may be needed for same sex couples who would like to get married overseas is a ‘Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage’. This certificate is issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This certificate allows same sex couples to be married overseas and be legally recognised as being married according to the laws of that foreign country. 

If the foreign country in which the overseas wedding takes place has not legalised same sex marriage like Australia has, there may be legal complications associated with the legality of the marriage. In these circumstances, it is recommended that parties seek legal advice to ensure that their marriage is valid overseas and in Australia. 

Can I get divorced in Australia if I got married in another country? 

In order to apply for a divorce in Australia, there must first be a valid and legally recognised marriage. 

The next consideration will be whether there are specific jurisdictional requirements in relation to getting a divorce in the foreign country where a party was married. An example of a specific condition is that one spouse may be required to have lived in that country for a period of 12 months or more in order to be able to lodge a divorce application. Such requirements will vary and depend on where the overseas wedding is. 

Generally, marriages entered into overseas by Australian citizens and permanent residents are recognised as valid if they are entered into properly in that overseas country. This means that an overseas wedding should not affect the status of a party’s marriage and should not make the divorce process any harder than it would be if the marriage had taken place in Australia. 

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