New Requirements for Same Sex and Unmarried Couples in Australia

Published: 24/02/2010

New Australian legislation will make it easier for committed unmarried couples to benefit from the legal entitlement currently reserved for married couples.
In a move that will include de facto and same sex relationships, the New South Wales Government intends to create a ‘Relationships Register’ to help unmarried couples in long-term relations to apply for migrant visas for Australia and other legal paperwork.
The current situation often means that unmarried couples in de facto or same sex relationships are required to enter a very difficult, drawn out application process that includes all manner of ways to confirm they are in a long-term relationship.
The ‘Relationships Register’ will allow committed de facto or same sex couples to access government services, entitlements and records in the same manner as married couples, which will have a major impact on relationships ending either because of death or separation.
By listing their relationship on the ‘Relationships Register’, the couples will be signing up to the legal agreement for equal share of assets is they end their relationship or one partner dies, in the same way as a marriage. This is largely because Australia does not recognise same-sex civil partnerships.
The ‘Relationships Register’ brings New South Wales in line with similar introductions in other areas of Australasia.
The criteria for registration include both parties being over 18, at least one partner being resident in New South Wales, neither partner being in another registerable relationship or marriage and both partners agreed that they’re in a committed, exclusive relationship.
Attorney General John Hatzistergos commented, “Couples who choose to register their relationship will be provided with one document that helps prove their relationship and will be spared the frustration of constantly having to supply agencies with copious amounts of paperwork.”
The Register will be managed by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and aims to simplify administrative and visa application processes for unmarried couples.

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