You are here:

Relationships FAQs

This page contains answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about relationships.
 


 

What is the difference between a domestic and a caring relationship?

A registrable domestic relationship (in accordance with the Relationships Act 2008) is:

"a relationship (other than a registered relationship) between two adult persons who are not married to each other but are a couple where one or each of the persons in the relationship provides personal or financial commitment and support of a domestic nature for the material benefit of the other, irrespective of their genders and whether or not they are living under the same roof, but does not include a relationship in which a person provides domestic support and personal care to the other person:
  1. for fee or reward; or
  2. on behalf of another person or an organisation (including a government agency, a body corporate or a charitable or benevolent organisation)."

A registrable caring relationship (in accordance with the Relationships Act) is:

"a relationship (other than a registered relationship) between two adult persons who are not a couple or married to each other and who may or may not otherwise be related by family where one or each of the persons in the relationship provides personal or financial commitment and support of a domestic nature for the material benefit of the other, whether or not they are living under the same roof, but does not include a relationship in which a person provides domestic support and personal care to the other person:
  1. for fee or reward; or
  2. on behalf of another person or an organisation (including a government agency, a body corporate or a charitable or benevolent organisation)."

Both domestic and caring relationships can be registered under the Relationships Act.

Who is eligible to register a domestic relationship?
A couple is eligible to register their relationship in Victoria if they are both at least 18 years old, if one party lives in Victoria, and if they are not married, in a relationship that is already registered in Victoria, in another relationship that could be registered.
Who is eligible to register a caring relationship?
Two people are eligible to register a caring relationship if they are both at least 18 years old, if one party lives in Victoria, and if they are not married, a couple, in a relationship that is already registered or in another relationship that could be registered.
Can one person register a relationship?
No. Both parties to a relationship must complete the relevant registration form.
Do you recognise relationships that have already been formalised?

Yes. From 1 July 2016, relationships formalised in the following jurisdictions (for example, a civil partnership or same sex marriage) will be recognised for the purposes of the Relationships Act as a 'registered domestic relationship':

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Tasmania
  • New Zealand
  • Canada, including Quebec and Nova Scotia
  • Hawaii
  • California
  • New York
  • South Africa
  • the Netherlands
  • the United Kingdom
  • Scotland

Relationships formalised in other jurisdictions that are not on this list are still considered to be a ‘registered domestic relationship’ under the Relationships Act, if the other jurisdiction’s law provides that the relationship:

  • must be between two adults who entered into the relationship consensually and are not related by family; and 
  • must not include a person who is already married or in a relationship formally recognised by that law.

You do not need to register a relationship in Victoria if you have already formalised a relationship in another Australian state or territory or overseas.

Recognition of these relationships will make it easier for couples to access their rights under Victorian law, as they will not need to provide any further evidence that their relationship exists.

Should I seek legal or financial advice before registering my relationship?

You do not have to seek legal or financial advice before registering a domestic relationship, although BDM encourages you to consider seeking advice.

However, both parties must seek independent legal advice (from separate legal practitioners) before registering a caring relationship. You must provide proof of that advice in the form of a Legal practitioner's certificate, which your solicitor must complete, and you must attach to the registration form. See the caring relationship registration form for further details.

How long does it take to register a relationship?
Domestic and caring relationships cannot be registered earlier than 28 days after the date you lodge a complete application. Incomplete or incorrect applications may take longer or be refused.
Can the registration process be fast-tracked?
No. Under subsection 10(2) of the Relationships Act 2008, the earliest your relationship can be registered is 28 days after the date you lodge your application.
Why should I register my domestic relationship?
Registering your relationship entitles you to a standard relationship certificate. This in turn provides immediate recognition of you and your partner's relationship, which may make it easier for you to access your legal rights without having to repeatedly prove your relationship in court or to different agencies. The certificate also means that you may not need further evidence that your relationship exists for other official purposes.
Can I register my current domestic relationship if I have been divorced or widowed?
Yes. You will need to provide evidence that you are no longer married, such as a divorce certificate, decree of nullity, or your spouse's death certificate.
Does the Registry conduct ceremonies to register domestic relationships?
Yes, the Registry does conduct ceremonies to register domestic relationships. See book a relationship ceremony for details.
Do I need to revoke my domestic relationship registration if my partner marries or dies?
No. The relationship registration is automatically revoked by law if a domestic partner marries or dies. We request that you notify BDM that this has occurred, so that we can note this in the Register.
Can I get married if I am in a registered relationship?
Yes. Your relationship will automatically be revoked by law if you marry. We request that you notify BDM that this has occurred, so that we can note this in the Register.
Will registering our domestic relationship support my visa application?
It is best to check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about their requirements. Contact them on 131 881.
Can I cancel an application to register a relationship once I submit the form?

Yes. If you want to cancel your application to register a domestic relationship within 28 days of lodging the registration form, one or both parties to the relationship can submit a domestic withdrawal form. Only the parties named on the application to register a relationship can complete the withdrawal form.

Please note that the relationship registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a refund for any certificate fees paid if you withdraw your application within 28 days of lodging it.

If you want to cancel your relationship registration after the registration is complete, both you and the other party to the relationship should complete a relationship revocation form. If the other party to the relationship does not or cannot complete the revocation form, you need to follow the instructions under Part Five of the form.

How long does it take to revoke a relationship registration?

Your relationship registration will be revoked 90 days after the date you lodge the complete revocation form. If the 90th day falls on a weekend or public holiday, your relationship registration will be revoked on the following business day.

Incomplete or incorrect applications may take longer or be refused.

Can I cancel an application to revoke a registered relationship once I submit the form?

Yes. If you want to cancel your application to revoke a domestic relationship registration within 90 days of lodging the revocation form, both parties to the relationship can submit a domestic withdrawal form. Only the parties named on the application can complete the withdrawal form.

Please note that the relationship revocation fee is non-refundable. You will receive a refund for any certificate fees paid if you withdraw your application within 90 days of lodging it.

If you do not submit the withdrawal form within 90 days, you will need to complete a new registration form.

What can I do if my application to register, revoke or withdraw is unsuccessful?

We encourage you to contact BDM if you have any concerns or for further information about a decision. You can do this online through our Contact us page, or you can mail your letter to:

Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
GPO Box 4332
MELBOURNE  VIC  3001

If your interests are affected by a decision of the Registrar, you may see a review of the decision by application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 28 days of the decision being made. Go to the VCAT website for more details.