What are the considerations before uniting or living in Australia with a partner from overseas after a long distance relationship?

If you’ve been in a long distance relationship with a partner from a country other than Australia, it may seem natural for you to want to bring them to or spend time with them in Australia,either temporarily or permanently. The good news is that this is possible.

However, there are a number of factors you should make consider before your partner arrives, on their arrival and before you start living together. In this blog, we’ll outline some of the considerations and methods you can explore.

Before your partner arrives: obtaining a Visa

The type of Visa you need to obtain before your partner arrives will depend on whether you’ll be bringing your partner over temporarily (maybe as a trial or for a set period of time),or whether you’ll be bringing them across permanently.

Once you have made this decision, you’ll need to apply for a visa based on their intention.

While some Visas and their applications are simple and straightforward, some are more complex. We recommend speaking either to the Department of Immigration or a qualified Immigration Lawyer to help you through this process.

When your partner arrives and/or before you start living together: organising and protecting your finances and assets

If you’re living together for the first time and would like to retain control of and protect your assets,then you should consider entering into a Financial Agreement.

This can either be in the form of a prenuptial agreement, if you intend to get married, or a cohabitation agreement, if you intend on living together.

These forms of agreements are popular with people who have been in long distance relationships (where one partner is a citizen or resident of Australia and the other neither) and people who have been married previously.

Sadly, one in three marriages ends in divorce or separation, so it’s wise to protect your assets before you enter into a de facto relationship or a marriage to ensure you are pre-ordered financially in case the reunion doesn’t work out as you intended it to.

During the reunion: de facto relationships and associated laws

If you and your partner are reuniting in Australia and intend on living together long term, you’ll likely be entering into a de facto relationship.

Under Australian law, a de facto relationship is defined in the Family Law Act as a relationship between two people (who are not legally married or related by family) who, having regard to all of the circumstances of their relationship, live together on a genuine domestic basis.

Understanding whether you’reentering into a de facto can be complex, but in determining whether people have entered into a de facto relationship, a court usually considers:

• The length of the relationship (whether you’ve lived together for two years or longer)

• Whether a sexual relationship existed

• Whether any children have come from the relationship

• The degree of financial dependence

• Ownership, use and acquisition of the parties’ property.

However, there is not a prerequisite for all the above factors to be present, and one factor isn’t necessarily given more weight than the other. Read more about de facto relationships.

If you enter into a de facto relationship without entering into a Cohabitation Agreement beforehand, then,in circumstances where separation occurs, you will be vulnerable to family law proceedings being initiated in Australia for property division or financial support of your partner.

In conclusion, there are a great number of factors for you and your partner to consider before you love together in Australia, and several other factors you should consider throughout the relationship.

Damien Greer

We take into account the constantly changing business and personal circumstances of our clients.

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