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Proxy marriages – what are they and are they legal?

This topic seems particularly pertenant at the moment, what with people being separated from their loved ones courtesy of Covid-19.

But what exactly are proxy marriages?

A proxy wedding or proxy marriage is a wedding in which one or both of the individuals being united are not physically present, usually being represented instead by other persons. If both partners are absent a double proxy wedding occurs.

Are proxy marriages legal in Australia?

A proxy marriage is not a legally recognised form of marriage in Australia because a couple must be physically present at a wedding ceremony for the marriage to be valid. Proxy marriages are also outlawed in many other countries due to concerns over sham marriages, particularly for immigration purposes.

However overseas proxy marriages may be recognised for migration purposes. Below is a Procedures Advice Manual extract:

10 Proxy marriages:
Australian law requires that consent be given by both parties in person. In some countries, however, marriage by proxy is permitted.
In such instances officers should satisfy themselves that:

• the law of the country where the marriage was solemnized (that is, where the marriage celebrant authorised the marriage) permits consent to be given by proxy and
• the marriage was solemnized in accordance with that law and
• both parties gave real consent to the marriage – see section 6 Marriages and “real consent”.
If all of the above requirements are met, the marriage may be recognised for the purpose of s5F(2)(a). However, although the marriage itself may be recognised, the couple must still satisfy s5F(2)(b), (c) and (d) in order to satisfy all the requirements of s5F. That is, for the couple to satisfy the definition of spouse (s5F(1)), officers must be satisfied that, as well as being married
• the couple have a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others and
• the relationship is genuine and continuing and
• the couple live together, or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis

Are you in this conundrum? Are you wanting to bring your wife to Australia from overseas? Perhaps TranQuill can help. Just give us a call or email and we can arrange a consultation to discuss your situation and move forward with the best plan of action for you. Contact us today.