Making it official

Your relationship can be official in a few ways. Your relationship may be de facto, registered or married. You may need to confirm your relationship status with us.

If you have a partner we consider you a member of a couple.

You’ll need to let us know if you become partnered. This is so we can pay you the right amount.

If you or your partner are making a claim for a payment, you’ll need to confirm your relationship status with us.

We assess relationship types as married, registered or de facto.

De facto relationship

A de facto relationship is where you and your partner meet all of these conditions:

  • you’re in a relationship similar to a married couple
  • you’re not married or in a registered relationship
  • you're over the age of consent in the state or territory you live in
  • you're not in a prohibited relationship under section 4(12) and section 4(13) of the Social Security Act 1991.

Being in a de facto relationship can have an effect on what payments you can get and your payment rate.

There’s no minimum time period for a relationship to be de facto.

There are different relationship rules for ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Youth Allowance and Disability Support Pension.

When you tell us about your relationship change, it can help us determine if you're independent for these payments. This may affect your rate of payment.

If you get one of these payments and you’re dependent, we don’t consider you as a member of a couple.

Read more about the independent and dependent rules for:

Boyfriends, girlfriends and non-binary relationships

If you have a boyfriend, girlfriend or are in a non-binary relationship, we may consider you as being in a de facto relationship.

If we assess your relationship type as de facto, it means you’re a member of a couple.

You need to tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend or non-binary relationship. We may need to assess your relationship to decide if you’re a member of a couple. This is so we pay you the right amount.

Registered relationship

One way to make your relationship official is to register it in your state or territory.

Read about how to register your relationship in your state or territory. You can’t do this in the Northern Territory or Western Australia. These links will take you away from our site.

State or territoryResources
ACTCivil partnership registration on the Access Canberra website.
NSWApply to register a relationship in New South Wales on the Services NSW website.
QldFill in a register a civil partnership application online on the Queensland Government website.
SARegister a relationship on SA.GOV.AU
TasRegister your significant relationship on the Justice Tasmania website.
VicUse the births, deaths and marriages website to register a domestic relationship in Victoria.

Australian state or territory law doesn’t recognise relationships registered in other countries. You can still use this evidence to show you and your partner are in a de facto relationship.

Marriage

Marriage is the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Read the Marriage Act 1961 on the Federal Register of Legislation website.

The Attorney-General’s Department website gives you information on what to do before and after you get married.

Name change

When you get married or partnered, you may decide to change your name.

If you change your name, it’s important to tell us.

To change or correct your legal name, we’ll need:

  • an original document from a state or territory births, deaths and marriages registry
  • your consent to verify the document.

You need to bring your documents to a service centre so we can update our records.

There are also some things you’ll need to do depending on which state you live in. These links will take you away from our website.

State or territoryResources
ACTSubmit a change of name registration on the Access Canberra website.
NSWRegister a change of name on the NSW Government website.
NTApply for a legal change of name on NT.GOV.AU
QldApply to change your name on the Queensland Government website.
SARegister a change of name on SA.GOV.AU
TasRegister a change of name on the Tasmanian Government website.
VicVisit the Victorian births, deaths and marriages website to find out about changing your name after marriage, separation or divorce.
WAFollow the step-by-step guide on changing your name on WA.GOV.AU
Page last updated: 17 January 2024.
QC 60031