Rela­tion­ships Reg­is­ter in New South Wales — What you need to know

In Brief

From 1 July 2010, cou­ples in New South Wales are able to reg­is­ter their rela­tion­ship with NSW Reg­istry of Births, Deaths & Marriages.

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 be met.

Forms enclos­ing the required statu­to­ry dec­la­ra­tion for the Rela­tion­ships Reg­is­ter can be obtained from the offices of the NSW Reg­istry of Births, Deaths & Mar­riages or down­loaded online.

Once all doc­u­men­ta­tion has been accept­ed, there is a 28 day cool­ing off peri­od dur­ing which either part­ner can can­cel the reg­is­tra­tion application.

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 NSW?

The NSW scheme has pro­vi­sions to recog­nise rela­tion­ships reg­is­tered in oth­er states and ter­ri­to­ries for the pur­pos­es of NSW law.

The NSW gov­ern­ment is also work­ing to ensure that rela­tion­ships reg­is­tered under this scheme will be recog­nised under the ACT’s Civ­il Union Scheme and under the state reg­istry schemes oper­at­ing in Vic­to­ria, Tas­ma­nia and the Commonwealth.

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 Com­mon­wealth”.

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

Either of the par­ties in the rela­tion­ship can revoke the reg­is­tra­tion by lodg­ing the appro­pri­ate form with the NSW Reg­istry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

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 stan­dard certificate.

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the NSW Rela­tion­ships Register

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion can be obtained by con­tact­ing Car­o­line Bass at Swaab Attor­neys. Infor­ma­tion can also be found at the web­site of the NSW Reg­istry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.