A New Way To Recognise Personal Relationships

The Relationships Register Act 2016 (SA) became law in South Australia on 1 August 2017. Under The Relationships Register Act 2016 (SA) Act, couples, whether same sex or not, are able to register through the department of Births, Deaths & Marriages. The benefit of registering your relationship is that a person will receive a Certificate which has the same force and effect as a Certificate of Marriage under the Marriage Act.

There are conditions imposed by the legislation which are similar to those formalities required when applying for a Marriage License. For instance, couples must not be related by family or in another existing relationship. There are also strict requirements with respect to identity.

The application can only be made online. Once the application is made, the applicants receive documents to print and complete. There is no requirement that the couple must have lived together for a certain amount of time, but there is a statutory requirement that the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages must not register an application until a cooling off period of 28 days has expired.
The Act also provides a mechanism whereby the relationship can be ended and the Certificate revoked.
As this Act enables a different type of relationship to be legally recognised, there have been consequential changes to other legislation such as the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act and the Wills Act 1936 (SA). The amendment to the Wills Act is particularly important, as it includes registration of a relationship as one of the factors which will automatically revoke an existing Will.
If you think you might, in the future, enter into a registered relationship with a particular person, you should make arrangements to have this included in your Will so that your Will is not affected when the relationship is then registered.