As much as I wish every divorce is settled on a dignified note, that does not seem to happen generally. As is divorce is a taxing phase in one’s life and if legal aspects crop up, they make it still worse. What’s on my mind? I am talking about immigration laws that affect the separating partners in Australia.
I thought of covering this aspect of divorce when I recently met a friend of mine, who I knew was going through a rough patch in her relationship. Separation was on the cards. However, I found her worrying more about her immigration status in Australia than her broken relationship. The BIG problem was not her relationship but whether she would be able to stay on in Australia or not. She was on a temporary partner visa and was waiting for her permanent partner visa, which would enable her to stay on in Australia permanently.
My friend was banking on her permanent partner visa to start a fresh lease of life. Australia PR process takes some time and tries to ensure the relationship between the partners is genuine and long-standing. For all the right reasons, the immigration department has set some rules while issuing permanent partner visas. There are ongoing instances of this visa being abused by people for gaining permanent residency in Australia.
Apart from the above mentioned practical reason, the immigration department does not require a partner to stay in an abusive relationship just to get a permanent residency visa. Your PR visa application and PR status remain valid, even if you are in the process of separation or already separated from your partner, who was the sponsor of your temporary partner visa.
Family violence is, in all legal and factual sense a valid point to separate from a partner. Any kind of abuse or harm, whether it is physical, financial, emotional or psychological is called as family violence. Any individual who is a victim of family violence can walk out of the relationship and still be eligible to apply for permanent residency or retain his/her permanent resident status in Australia.
· Your relationship with your partner has ended. The relationship must have been genuine and both the partners intended to stay together until the relationship breakdown.
· You are on temporary partner visa or you married your spouse on a prospective marriage visa.
· OR you and your dependents ( child or children, aged parents or any relative) are victims of family violence.
If the reason for your separation and divorce is domestic abuse, you need to provide legal and non-legal evidence to the immigration department in support of your PR visa application.
Legal evidence can be:
· An injunction order from the court.
· An order against your partner; abstaining him/her to establish contact with you in any way.
· OR a court order finding your partner guilty of inflicting domestic violence on you and your dependents.
Non-legal evidence can be any document provided by a professional, who dealt with you during the family violence. Such as doctor, psychologist, social worker, police officer, witness, an officer from child welfare authority etc. The document provided by these professionals should include the details of family violence you are claiming. For example, the professional service offered to you and your dependents, individuals involved in family violence, the reason for providing such an evidence and any other information that supports your family violence claim.
You are required to fill a statutory declaration form, 1410 for family violence claim on . The immigration department may ask an autonomous expert for an assessment of your situation if it finds anything suspicious.
Get a professional advice before losing hope on your permanent residency application or status in Australia.