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Married at First Sight – what could go wrong?!

Married At First Sight – the series we all love to hate and hate to love. With many people sick of choosing the wrong person for themselves time and time again, often via their online dating accounts, you can forgive some for thinking that, just maybe, these modern-day arranged marriages are the way of the future. And who can blame them with unlikely love birds like Telv and Sarah flaunting their love on national television?!

Whether or not you buy into the series, it does raise some questions about the legitimacy of a marriage.

Firstly, can you simply marry a person you’ve never met, on a whim?

There are no laws requiring that you love or even know the person you marry, nor are there any laws against arranged marriages in Australia. The only legal requirement is that both parties freely enter the marriage. However, at least 1 month and 1 day prior to any marriage, the parties must lodge a Notice of Intention to Marry. In reality, this means you would usually have to know the person for at least this amount of time.

So, technically, couples can rush into marriage. But, before doing so, they need to be aware of the potential ramifications.

What are the ramifications?

In Australia, you must be separated for at least 12 months before they can file for divorce. To complicate matters further, for those who marry on a whim but find their marriage doesn’t last long at all, there is also a requirement that they wait at least 2 years from the date of their marriage to file for divorce. If 2 years is simply too long, you can still file for divorce, but only after seeing a counsellor and obtaining a certificate to say that you considered reconciliation.

Even after filing for divorce, you can usually expect to wait about 3 months before your application will be listed for a hearing. After that, if the divorce is granted, there is a further 1 month and 1 day to wait before you are legally divorced. I suppose, if anything, this would stop another shotgun wedding following the first...

Oh, and other than the potential years that you would be tied to your ex, there is also an $865 filing fee to pay.

Once you are married, the Family Law Act gives the Family Court jurisdiction to decide how your assets and liabilities are split, if you do separate. Perhaps Carly should have made her “marriage” to Justin “the millionaire businessman” legal after all…

Of course, the length of the marriage will impact upon how the assets are split, but it’s always important to be aware that a marriage can open you up to losing some of your hard-earned cash – especially if you are asset-rich.

Thankfully, the Married at First Sight Australia weddings are staged and not legal, unlike the American version. Poor old Ryan must be thanking his lucky stars there won’t be any lasting legal complications from his “marriage” to Davina – other than a heavy heart and possible contract as Australia’s next Bachelor of course.


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Friday, 07 May 2021

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