It is legal to get engaged while still married. Engagement, unlike marriage, doesn’t have any legal implications. However, you cannot legally marry your new partner until your existing marriage is dissolved through divorce.
Here’s a breakdown of the key points:
- Engagement vs. Marriage: Engagement is a promise to marry in the future, while marriage is a legally binding union.
- Legality of Engagement: There’s no law against getting engaged while married in Australia.
- Divorce Process: Before you can legally marry your new partner, you need to finalize your divorce from your current spouse. This typically involves a 12-month separation period before applying for divorce.
Can You Get a Marriage License If You’re Already Engaged While Married?
You cannot legally obtain a marriage license if you are already married, regardless of whether you are engaged to someone else. Australian law does not allow a person to be married to more than one person at a time. This is in line with the Marriage Act 1961, which governs marriages in Australia.
Under this Act, one of the essential conditions for a valid marriage is that both parties are not lawfully married to someone else at the time of the marriage. Therefore, if you are still legally married to another person, you must first obtain a divorce before you can legally marry someone else.
The process of getting divorced in Australia typically requires 12 months of separation. After this period, you can apply for a divorce, which must be granted before you are legally free to marry again.
If you apply for a marriage license while still legally married to someone else, your application will be rejected. It’s important to follow the legal process for divorce to ensure that your subsequent marriage is legally valid. Legal advice or consultation with a family law professional is recommended in such situations to navigate the process correctly.
Can You Set a Wedding Date While Still Married?
Yes, you can set a wedding date while still married, but there are important legal and practical considerations to keep in mind. In Australia, as in many other countries, you cannot legally marry someone if you are already married to another person. Therefore, while setting a date for a new wedding is possible, it’s crucial to ensure that your divorce will be finalised before the planned wedding date.
Here are some key points to consider:
- Divorce Process Timeframe: In Australia, the divorce process involves a mandatory separation period of 12 months. After filing for divorce, there is usually an additional period before the divorce is finalised. Make sure that this timeframe is considered when setting a new wedding date.
- Legal Implications: It’s important to be legally divorced before marrying again. Marrying someone while still legally married to another person is bigamous and illegal.
- Planning Considerations: Given the uncertainties and potential delays in legal processes, it might be wise to plan the wedding date with some flexibility in mind or only after the divorce is finalised to avoid any legal complications.
- Emotional and Social Aspects: Aside from legalities, consider the emotional and social implications of planning a wedding while still legally married. This can be a sensitive issue for all parties involved, including children and extended family.
While there is no legal restriction on planning a wedding or setting a date for a future marriage, ensuring that all legal obligations and processes are completed is crucial for the validity of your next marriage and for avoiding legal complications. It’s often advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to navigate this process smoothly.
Should You Wait Until You’re Divorced to Get Engaged?
A woman amid a divorce found herself in a complex emotional and legal quandary when her boyfriend proposed to her. She was torn between accepting this new chapter of happiness and the legal implications it might have on her ongoing divorce proceedings. At Justice Family Lawyers, our experienced attorneys provide comprehensive advice.
They reassured her that, while being engaged has no legal standing, it could potentially influence the divorce process, particularly if it impacts negotiations or perceptions in matters like property settlements or child custody. Our lawyers emphasized the importance of clear communication with all parties involved and advised her to consider the emotional and practical aspects of her decision.
With our guidance, she was able to navigate this sensitive situation with a better understanding of the legal and personal implications, ensuring her decision was both legally sound and emotionally right for her.
Can You Get Engaged If You Are Still Married?
At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand the complexities of love and law. If you’re contemplating engagement during an ongoing divorce, let us guide you through the legal landscape with clarity and compassion. Our expert team is dedicated to ensuring your decisions are both legally sound and aligned with your journey. Contact us today for a consultation, and take the first step towards navigating your future with confidence and legal peace of mind.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.