From 1 July 2010, couples in New South Wales are able to
register their relationship with NSW Registry of Births, Deaths
Who can register their relationship?
All couples in a committed exclusive relationship can register,
regardless of their gender. Neither party can be married or be in
another relationship that is either registered or registrable. Only
persons over 18 years of age can register and at least one party to
the relationship must be a resident of NSW.
There is no requirement for a couple to be living together to be
eligible for registration.
How to apply for registration
To apply, a couple must sign a statutory declaration confirming
their relationship status and declaring that their relationship is
exclusive, that they are not related and that at least one of them
resides in NSW.
There is no further requirement to provide evidence of the
relationship but there are further identification requirements to
Once all documentation has been accepted, there is a 28 day
cooling off period during which either partner can cancel the
What is the effect of registering a relationship?
Registration gives couples legal recognition as de facto
partners for the purposes of NSW legislation. Registered couples
will be able to rely on their registration certificate to access
various entitlements, services and records.
What relationships registered elsewhere will be recognised in
The NSW scheme has provisions to recognise relationships
registered in other states and territories for the purposes of NSW
The NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos has stated:
"We're working with those jurisdictions to ensure that
there is recognition of arrangements under our law and that they
recognise our provisions under their laws and also with the
However, relationships which have been registered outside
Australia are not recognised and persons in such relationships will
have to re-register with a state or territory registry scheme to
confirm their status in Australia.
How to revoke a relationship which has broken down
There is no requirement that both parties agree to the
revocation. However, if only one person wishes to revoke the
registration, proof must be provided that the other person in the
relationship has been served with a notice before revocation can be
granted. There is also a 90 day cooling off period from the date of
the revocation application before registration is revoked.
What are the registration costs?
Registration costs $188 which includes a standard certificate. A
revocation of the relationship will cost $116 and again includes a
Further information about the NSW Relationships Register
Further information can be obtained by contacting Sandra Rocha
at Swaab Attorneys. Information can also be found at the website of
the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Swaab Attorneys was the highest ranking law firm and the
13th best place to work in Australia in the 2010 Business Review
Weekly Best Places to Work Awards. The firm was a finalist in the
2010 BRW Client Choice Awards for client service and was named the
winner in the 2009 Australasian Legal Business Employer of Choice
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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