What does “free to marry” mean?

To apply for an Australian prospective marriage visa, both parties need to be “free to marry”, ie. you must both be legally able to marry each other.

Why?

Because there are laws in most countries, including Australia and Philippines, against bigamy! You cannot be married to two people at the same time. The penalty in the Philippines, I think, is 10 years hard labour! And yes, marriages from one country are recognises in another country. Don’t think you can sweep it under the carpet.

Being free to marry also means:

  • Neither party is under-age, ie. not under 18
  • You may not be close relatives
  • You may not be of the same sex. Same-sex marriages are not (as of 09/04/2014) legal in Australia. Therefore you are not free to marry each other.
  • And neither of you may be forced into the marriage

For those not aware, the Philippines has:

  • Annulments: This is a lengthy and complicated process by which it needs to be established to the court that one or both parties of the marriage was psychologically incapable of understanding the commitment they were making at the time of the marriage.
  • Sharia divorces: Muslim Filipinos may divorce through the Sharia courts in the Philippines
  • Legal separation: This is NOT a way of ending a marriage. The couple are still married. They’ve merely legally separated their affairs.

No-fault-divorce, as exists in Australia? No, sorry. Doesn’t exist. Be aware of this!

www.downundervisa.com.au

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