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Our client entered Australia on a student visa and remained on various student visas for four years. While in Australia she met an Australian citizen with whom she started a lasting relationship. Although they were living in an exclusive relationship, they were not married and Immigration refused to allow the applicant to remain as a de facto spouse of an Australian citizen. (A de facto marriage is a relationship that is in all respects the same as a traditional marriage except for the absence of any official certification).
In order to prove that a de facto marriage exists the following factors are usually considered as being important: the financial aspects of the relationship, the nature of the household, the social aspects of the relationship, the nature of the persons’ commitment to each other, a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others, whether the couple live together, or do not live separately or apart on a permanent basis, and whether the relationship existed for 12 months prior to the application.
We represented our client in the Migration Review Tribunal and put together a convincing portfolio of evidence, which showed that all of the above factors existed at least to some extent. The client’s main difficulties were regarding the financial aspects of the relationship and the times that the couple spent living apart. With careful preparation of the evidence and by taking statements from our client, from her spouse and from their friends we were able to persuade the Tribunal that the relationship was a genuine de facto marriage
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