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How to Register De Facto Relationships in Australia? (2 Simple Steps)

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How to Register De Facto Relationships in Australia

Marriage isn’t the only way to formalise a relationship in Australia. A de facto relationship is an increasingly popular way to live as a couple.

They receive much of the same legal recognition as married couples regarding property settlements and custody arrangements. While it’s not necessary, some couples choose to register de facto relationships with their state government to further formalise their union.

Here’s the process.

What is a de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship is a marriage-like one that hasn’t undergone the marriage process. De facto couples must live together on a genuine domestic basis. De facto relationships can be same-sex or heterosexual in nature.

lovely de facto couple

How to apply for a registered relationship?

Every state and territory has its own process for applying for the relationship register. Here’s the process for registering your relationship in Queensland.

Step 1: Determining eligibility

You must meet these criteria to be eligible for registration.

  • Both parties must:

    • Be over the age of 18.

    • Provide three forms of identity documents.

    • Not already married or in a civil partnership.

  • It mustn’t be a prohibited relationship. A relationship is prohibited if the parties are direct ancestors or descendants, siblings or half-siblings.

  • At least one person must reside in Queensland.

  • If a party was married, they must provide evidence the marriage has ended (e.g. producing a divorce order or death certificate).

  • All documents must be in English or accompanied by an accredited translation.

  • Pay the $159 registration fee.

  • Both parties must read the legal effects of a civil partnership.

  • If you’re submitting your application through registered post, certify the supporting documents through a Justice of the Peace.

Step 2: application process

After meeting the eligibility criteria, you can make the application. The first part of the application can be completed online. Review your details and choose how to pay the registration fee. You’ll be sent an email that details how to finalise your application.

Print the completed application form and have it and supporting documents certified by a Justice of the Peace at this stage. Gather sufficient proof of ID and evidence that one party resides in Queensland.

Once you have the completed application and supporting documents together, you can make your submission by post or in-person. Many prefer to submit the application in person. If this is you, you can book a 15-minute appointment to finalise the process at the Brisbane registry customer service centre.

You’ll receive your registered relationship certificate once you’ve completed the application process.

Why register de facto relationships?

A registered relationship has certain benefits, making it an attractive option for some people. Here are some advantages to registered relationships:

  • You only need a registration certificate to prove the existence of the relationship. Without it, you may have the hassle of providing additional evidence.

  • A registration proves the existence of a relationship to access government services such as Centrelink, superannuation benefits, and more.

  • A registered relationship helps to organise a partner visa application. However, at least one person must reside in the state or territory in which the relationship was registered.

couple registering de facto relationship

Where can a de facto relationship be registered?

Not every Australian state or territory provides for relationship registration. Here’s where registration is available:

  • NSW

  • QLD

  • Victoria

  • Australian Capital Territory

  • South Australia

  • Tasmania.

The Northern Territory does not allow for relationship registration. You can register your relationship in Western Australia, but it won’t be recognised for migration purposes.


De facto couples have the legal rights of married couples. However, proving you’re in a de facto relationship can require significant evidence. This could include evidence of how long you’ve been together and your living arrangements.

Registering your relationship can make your life much easier. Proving your relationship to access government services and organising immigration for your partner can be done with a single document.

If you need assistance applying for relationship registration, contact us today.

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Rowena Ferrall


Rowena Ferrall is the principal lawyer of Ferrall & Co. Lawyers, which was established in 2017. The firm specialises in family law, domestic violence and criminal defence.

Rowena is licensed to practice in Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Her approach combines legal expertise with compassion, ensuring clients receive the right advice and emotional support. She’s an active member of several law associations and supports various charities. Contact Rowena for more information.

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