Nova Scotia: Registration -- Domestic partners


Nova Scotia's Law Reform (2000) Act introduced the legislative concept of a "domestic relationship." Couples of the same or opposite sex may register a "domestic relationship" under the Vital Statistics Act by filing with the Registrar a "domestic partner declaration" in the prescribed form. Registration is strictly voluntary, and is still available, even after Nova Scotia's September 2004 decision to allow same-sex marriages.

Any two adults who are ordinarily resident in Nova Scotia (or who own real estate in Nova Scotia) and who are cohabiting or intend to cohabit in a conjugal relationship may make a domestic-partner declaration in the prescribed form, so long as neither of them is married or a party to another subsisting declaration. The declaration must be signed by both parties and witnessed by at least one person.

Once a domestic-partner declaration has been registered with the province, domestic partners, as between themselves and with respect to any person, have as of the date of the registration the same rights and obligations as a spouse and/or husband or wife under most Nova Scotia statutes, including (but not limited to):

A domestic partner becomes the "former domestic partner" of another person after the earliest of the following events occur:

the parties file with the Registrar an executed statement of termination in the prescribed form;

the parties live separate and apart for more than one year and one or both parties has the intention that the relationship not continue;

one of the domestic partners marries another person; and

the parties have an agreement registered with the court pursuant to Section 52 of the Maintenance and Custody Act.

At that point, each of the former domestic partners has the same rights and obligations under the statutes referred to above that accrue to spouses by separation, separation agreement, court order or death, as the case may be.

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