A marriage certificate is the best evidence that a person has contracted marriage with another person. The marriage certificate is competent proof of all that is stated therein: the names and personal circumstances of the spouses, date and place of marriage, the marriage celebrant, and the witnesses to the ceremony.
If a person wants to prove the fact of his marriage, the first thing he would need to present is his marriage certificate.
The marriage certificate contains the signatures of the spouses, the marriage celebrant and their witnesses. The fact that the spouse signed the marriage certificate is proof of his willingness to enter into the marriage. His signature is proof that he was not forced or coerced into getting married. It would indeed be difficult to prove lack of consent or coercion if a signed marriage certificate is presented.
A marriage certificate in a foreign language must be translated to English if it is to be used in Australia. A marriage certificate is prepared and issued in accordance with the country where it was celebrated. Naturally, a marriage certificate will be in the language of the country which issued it. A marriage certificate, even if in a foreign language, is admissible as proof of marriage provided that it complies with the law of the country where it is being presented or used. So, before a marriage certificate can be used in another country it must first comply with the procedures for admissibility of documents in that country.
The necessity of a marriage certificate most commonly arises during divorce. A marriage certificate is one of the attachments to an application for divorce. Of course, before a person can be divorced he must first prove that he is married in the first place.
Being separate jurisdictions, laws of every country differ with how they accept a marriage certificate as proof of marriage. In Australia, the Family Law Rules of 2004 provides the requirements a spouse must comply with before a marriage certificate in a foreign language can be used in court.
The Rules provide that the marriage certificate must be filed along with a translation and an affidavit of the translator. So, the marriage certificate which is in a foreign language must have the following attachments if it is to be used in applying for a divorce:
English translation of the marriage certificate, an affidavit of the translator stating his qualifications to translate and a certification that the English translation is an accurate translation of the marriage certificate.
Since an affidavit is used, the English translator must personally appear before a person authorized to take oaths and swear to the veracity of his statements in the affidavit. There are organizations in Australia that provide English translation services for a fee so it is just a matter of finding one who can agree to do it at a reasonable price.
Actually, a marriage certificate is useful not only in divorce. It can be used to claim for benefits that are available to married persons. It can be used to prove one’s identity, age, civil status and residence. An English translation of a marriage certificate is basically handy in almost any situation and not just during divorce.