Registering a Same Sex Relationship when not Married

Where and How can a Same Sex De Facto Relationship be registered

If a Same Sex couple does not want to marry, they may still either wish to, or need to legally register their De Facto Same Sex relationship.

Registering a Same Sex De Facto Relationship with Centrelink

Centrelink has a registration system such that, if you are in a Same Sex De Facto Relationship and you receive any Centrelink benefits, your relationship can and should be registered with Centrelink.

Failure to register your Same Sex De Facto Relationship with Centrelink can cause you difficulties.

If you fail to register your relationship with Centrelink, then that can affect your entitlement to benefits, whether benefits received might need to be repaid and further, you may be liable to prosecution as a criminal offence.


Apart from registering your relationship with Centrelink, some Australian States also have a registration system.

Where can’t you register your Same Sex De Facto Relationship?

There is no registration system for De Facto Same Sex Couples in:

  • Western Australia;
  • Northern Territory;
  • South Australia (although same sex couples can register their relationship through a “Domestic Partnership Agreement” document).

States & Territories with a Registration System for Same Sex De Facto Relationships

De facto couples including same sex couples can have their relationship registered in the following States & Territories:



  • Queensland;
  • New South Wales;
  • Victoria;
  • Tasmania;
  • Australian Capital Territory;
  • Norfolk Island (since 1 July 2016 has been incorporated into New South Wales legislation).

Queensland Registration of Same Sex De Facto Relationship

In Queensland de facto same sex couples can register their relationship as a Civil Partnership under section 5 of Civil Partnerships Act 2011.

One partner must have lived in Queensland for at least 6 months and you must also provide evidence of this.

You can apply by post and processing time to register relationships is 10 days.

Cost of your registration certificate at time of publication of this information sheet was $43.50.

New South Wales & Norfolk Island Registration of Same Sex De Facto Relationship

Couples in both NSW and Norfolk Island can apply for a Registered Relationship under section 4 of the Relationships Register Act 2010.

NSW residents can register via the Registry of Death Birth and Marriages.

At least one partner must live in NSW.

It will usually take about 28 days to receive your certificate after you have registered your relationship.

Victoria Registration of Same Sex De Facto Relationship

If you live in Victoria you can apply to have your Same Sex De Facto Relationship recognised as a Registered Relationship under section 10(3)(a) of Relationships Act 2008.

In Victoria, relationships are registered through Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria.

At least one partner needs to have been resident in Victoria for the previous 3 months.

It takes a minimum of at least 28 days for the registration process to be finalised.

Tasmania Registration of Same Sex De Facto Relationship

Couples from Tasmania can register their relationship as a Significant Relationship under section 4 of Relationships Act 2003.

You can register your relationship by either applying by post, or in person with the Tasmania Department of Justice.

It will take about 28 days for you to receive your registration certificate.

Both partners must be residents of Tasmania.

Application fees at the time of publication of this information sheet are $179.08.

Australian Capital Territory Registration of a Same Sex De Facto Relationship

If a couple is from the ACT they can have their relationship recognised as a Civil Partnership under section 6 of Civil Partnerships Act 2008.

Civil partnership registration can be obtained via Access Canberra.

At least one of the partners to the application must live in the ACT and two (2) forms of evidence of residency must also be provided.

You can apply in person or you can post your application and supporting documents.

If however you apply by post, at least one applicant will still need to present identification at the post office.

There are no fees for civil partnership registration.

National Same Sex Relationship Register

In December 2007, the then Prime Minister said the Australian Federal Government would work on a National Relationship Register, similar to the one in Tasmania, which would officially record an existing Same Sex Relationship.

A National Register has not yet been established, nor does it appear likely in the foreseeable future.

Same Sex Relationships – More Information

If you want to find out about registration of a Same Sex Relationship read our information sheet How do I register a Same Sex Relationship and do I need to.

Read more about Marriage and Civil Unions for Same Sex Couples in the information sheet We’re in a Same Sex Relationship – Can we have a Civil Union.

The laws about fostering or adopting children for same sex couples is explained in our information sheet We are a Same Sex Couple – Can we Foster or Adopt Children.

Find out more about having a baby through artificial insemination in the information sheet Using Artificial Insemination to have a baby in a Same Sex Relationships.

You may have acquired some assets or got yourself into a position where you are earning a very good wage. The information sheet Should I enter into a Binding Financial Agreement to protect myself may provide some helpful information for you.

If you are thinking about entering into a Cohabitation Agreement with your partner, read the information sheet What type of Binding Financial Agreement do I need for more information.

De Facto Relationships – More Information

It might also be important for you to read the checklist of things a court looks at to decide whether you are in a de facto relationship, the time limits applicable to your de facto relationship, how to protect your assets, the threshold requirements for de facto couples to be apply to apply for property settlement and other important legal information.

You can read more in the following sections of our website:


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