A registered relationship is similar to marriage in that it provides automatic recognition for various legal purposes in South Australia. However, there are two main differences between them.
The first is that marriage can provide recognition both interstate and internationally.
The second is that marriage cannot end as quickly or abruptly as a registered relationship. A marriage cannot officially end unless it has broken down irretrievably evidenced by 12 months separation, see Divorce. A registered relationship, by contrast, can end by application by either partner without proof of actual separation, after 90 days cooling off, or sooner by way of the marriage of either partner.
For further comparison, see the table below.
Unregistered de facto relationships, registered relationships and marriage compared
|Unregistered de facto relationship||Registered Relationship||Marriage|
|Application/Notice of commencing relationship lodged with||N/A||Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages||Authorised celebrant|
|When relationship commences/may commence||N/A||28 days later||One month later|
|Fee for registration||N/A||$108||N/A|
Death; Marriage; Revocation
|Death; Separation and divorce|
|Requirements of ending||Separation||
Application setting out that a party wishes to revoke the registration
If there is no separation, the relationship may continue as an unregistered de facto relationship
|Application setting out that the marriage has broken down irretrievably evidenced by 12 months separation|
|Application to end relationship lodged with||N/A||Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages||Federal Circuit Court|
|When end takes effect||Upon separation||90 days after application to revoke registration, but marriage can otherwise end a registered relationship sooner||1 month after divorce order|
|Fee for ending||N/A||$108||$865; reduced fee $290|
Recognition for various purposes
|Migration||Yes, after 1 year, child or waiver||Yes||Yes|
|Property Settlement||Yes, after 2 years, child or waiver||Yes||Yes|
|Where there is no will||Yes, after 3 years, child or declaration*||Yes||Yes|
|Inadequate provision in a will||Yes, after 3 years, child or declaration*||Yes||Yes|
|Consent to medical treatment||Yes, after 3 years, child or declaration*||Yes||Yes|
|Nationwide recognition||Yes, but varying requirements for recognition||No, registered relationships are not yet recognised in WA or NT||Yes|
*These requirements for recognition apply in SA only: requirements may vary from State to State.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.