Australian partner visa answers

Thursday Answers are a response to questions submitted by readers on our regular Ask Mondays posts.

Every Monday I ask people to send in their questions and concerns and I select one to answer. In doing this, I hope you will see that a) you’re not alone in this, b) there are no stupid questions and c) we’re all here to help!

Question:

My partner and I met when we were travelling Europe and when things got serious I moved in with him in Portugal. Because I wasn’t a resident, I couldn’t be added to the lease or for joint bank accounts. Everything is in his name! How do we prove that we lived together and share finances?

Answer:

This week’s question is very common and I know all too well from my own personal experiences. We had lived overseas too where the situation was that I had to sublet and couldn’t get anything in my name. It wasn’t until we wanted to move back to Australia, did this become something we had to think about.

Ok, so with all defacto relationships you have to prove that you’ve lived together for 12 months and the 4 aspects and one of those as you have pointed out is about sharing finances.

The strongest piece of evidence of having lived together for 12 months is to provide a co-signed lease, utility bills and mail that show both of your addresses at the same place. So in your situation, whilst you may not be officially on the lease, you may have received mail to your address that clearly states your name and the address matching your partner’s. This is one way around this. Gather enough official looking mail and it may be accepted as a substitute for a co-signed lease. The regulations only suggest that you provide a co-sign lease so it’s not a requirement and the case officer is a human being who can make assumptions as to the nature of your relationship if provided enough evidence. But I don’t suggest you provide every piece of junk mail as evidence. I’m only suggesting that this is one way to gather documents to make up for not having a co-signed lease.

Another way that you can prove that you’ve lived together at the same address is if you have lived there with a roommate then get the roommate to write a statutory declaration saying that. Alternatively, better evidence would be a statutory declaration from the landlord.

Failing all of that, you will have to explain the situation in detail in your own personal statutory declarations including the circumstances that gave rise to this situation.

As for the finance issue, the money that you contribute to household expenses or rent will have to come from somewhere right? If you are direct depositing money into your partner’s account then your own personal bank statements should have a record of this. Provide these and mark the transactions as relating to ‘couple things’. Having a joint bank account isn’t a magic bullet and I go into more detail around that in my book so don’t worry too much if you do not have an account in both your names. There are copious amounts of other evidence that you can show sharing finances whereby a joint bank account is just the easiest one.

That concludes this week’s Thursday Answers.

Until next time,

Fiona

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