Registering your relationship in Victoria

Under the Relationships Act 2008 (External link), a ‘registrable domestic relationship’ is a relationship between two adults (irrespective of gender and whether they are living together) 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.

People who are in a ‘registrable domestic relationship’ can make an application to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (the Registrar) to register their relationship.

Registering a domestic relationship under the Relationships Act and receiving a certificate from the Registrar provides conclusive proof of the existence of a domestic relationship for the purposes of Victorian law, for example, when discussing a partner’s health in an emergency situation or when seeking compensation entitlements as a dependent partner.

Changes from 2016

Connection with Victoria

From 1 July 2016, only one person in a registrable domestic relationship needs to live in Victoria to register their relationship under the Relationships Act. This means that if you live in Victoria but your partner is living interstate or overseas, you will be able to register your relationship in Victoria.

Recognising relationships that have already been formalised

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 theRelationships Actas 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.

Relationship ceremony

From 1 June 2017, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages commenced offering registered relationship ceremonies at the Victorian Marriage Registry.

For further information, visit the Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (External link) website