Couples who are living together as husband and wife even without the benefit of marriage can now register their relationship through the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.In effect, the couples will be legally recognized as “de facto partners” and will have the opportunity to access government services, legal entitlements, and other relevant records.
Registration of de facto relationship is also applicable to homosexual couples as long as one of them are living in NSW and that there is no legal impediment to the current relationship. Hence, if one party wants to register a de facto relationship, it is important to note that the one should not have an existing marriage or relationship with another person other than his or her current partner. Otherwise, the registration would not be permitted. Other circumstances that will render the registration as null and void is when the agreement is obtained by fraud or intimidation or when either of the party who applied for registration is mentally incapable.
Couples, who cannot get married by reasons of public policy, such that the couples are related by family, cannot have the registration of de facto relationship as an option. Similar to the requisites of a valid marriage, couples should also be at least 18 years old and above before they can validly register.
Under the Australian law, couples who want to register their relationship do not have to present documentary evidence to prove that they are in a de facto relationship. A statutory declaration stating that they wish to be registered may be enough as an initiative. In case of fraud, the responsible party may be charged under certain laws which penalties can last up to seven years or more.
In an event where couples decide to break up, both parties can apply for revocation of the registration of relationship. In case of violence or by any reason in which the relationship has to end, one party can apply to revoke the registration alone, provided that the latter has served notice to the other party. In revoking the registration, couples are not required to execute the action in the presence of a lawyer but will only have to pay minimal fees.
In complex cases of relationship registration, such that family conflicts or child issues are involved, it is important for couples to seek a legal advice from a lawyer who is well versed in the law. When you are faced with confusions or have some questions regarding registration of de facto relationship, do not hesitate to consult one of our family lawyers to be given clarity about the issue.