How do you end a registered relationship?

How do you end a registered relationship?

By Ezra Sarajinsky

· Read time: 4 minutes

If you have registered your relationship with one of the State registrars (eg NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages) and your relationship has broken down, then you may want to consider removing your relationship from the register.

The NSW Relationship Register

The NSW Relationship Register allows for all couples to register their relationship. This means that your defacto relationship will be legally recognised. This can be helpful if you are attempting to access services from government agencies that require evidence of your relationship. In NSW, registering your relationship will mean that you are legally seen to be in a de facto relationship with your partner. 

Registering relationships is also commonly done by defacto couples who are applying for partner visas.

Registering your relationship on the Registrar will also be useful if your relationship breaks down. Having proof of a genuine de facto relationship will make it easier for your property settlement and relationship breakdown matters to be heard in the jurisdiction of the Family Court. 

It is important to note that you must revoke your previous relationship before entering a new one. If you choose to get married to your existing partner, there is no need to revoke the relationship; your marriage will supersede your registration. Other circumstances where you will not need to revoke your relationship include if one party has passed away. In this case, the registration of the relationship is automatically revoked. 

Eligibility to end my relationship: 

There are certain eligibility requirements you must meet if you are to revoke your registered relationship. Only individuals that are over 18 and party to the registered relationship can revoke that relationship. One or both parties can apply to have the relationship removed from the register. If you are the one applying, you must ensure that your partner is notified of your application and you must send them a copy. It is also important to provide proof that you have followed these steps. You can lodge your application either by mail or in person at a service centre. 

After filing your application, you will need to wait 90 days before the Registrar will end your registered relationship. During this period, if you or your partner change your mind, you will still be able to withdraw your application. Note however, that your application fee may not be refunded.

What are the legal consequences of ending my registered relationship? 

Ending your registered relationship will mean that the law recognises that you and your partner are no longer together. As stated above, it will also mean that the Family Court can aid you in matters regarding your relationship breakdown. For example, your registered relationship can provide evidence for your de facto relationship during property settlement matters. For de facto relationships, time limits of two years apply. Revoking your registered relationship can mark the date of separation and thus help you keep track of your timeline. Filing an application beyond the two year time limit will mean that you must apply for special leave in the court, which will be time consuming and costly for both parties. 

Proving the existence of a de facto relationship can also allow the court to determine matters regarding spousal maintenance. This will be particularly important for separating parties who have a large difference in future earning capacity. 

Ending your registered relationship can also impact other important legal documents. It may impact your will, particularly if you have appointed your ex partner to be your executor or your beneficiary. 

If you need any assistance ending your registered relationship, please feel free to reach us via the contact form.

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