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Table 6 Relationship Status

Change

What to Verify

What to Request

Who to Contact for Information

A defacto relationship commences

  1. Date of commencement of relationship.
  2. Income and asset details for new assessment.
  3. Was/is the partner in receipt of a social security or DVA pension/benefit?

Statutory Declarations and supporting statements from the pensioner(s) and the partner.

Income and asset form to be completed (A Statement of Circumstances Form D2589).

The pensioner and their new partner should present for interview at the counter.

If interview is not possible, mail the request to them.

If a questionnaire regarding these relationships is available in your State have them complete that as well.

You could also check the medical and hospital files as these may give a hint as to the length of time the veteran has been in the defacto relationship, and the name of the defacto.

Centrelink may be able to help if the pensioner is in payment at Centrelink.

You may also have to get supporting statements from a third party such as a solicitor, friend or family member.

Defacto couple separates

  1. Date of separation.
  2. Division of assets.

Statutory declarations and supporting statements from pensioner and partner.

Any documents that state the division of assets, if this occurred.

The pensioner and their ex-partner should provide all documents.

You may have to get supporting statements from a third party such as a solicitor, friend or family member.

Pensioner marries

  1. Date of marriage.
  2. Partner's financial circumstances.
  3. Was/is the partner in receipt of a social security or DVA pension/benefit?

A copy of the marriage certificate.

An income/assets statement from the pensioner and their partner (A Statement of Circumstances Form D2589).

The pensioner and their new partner are required to provide all the details requested.

If some problem verifying the date of marriage then contact the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for a copy of the marriage certificate.

Pensioner divorces

  1. Date divorce became final (i.e. Decree Absolute).
  2. Division of income and assets.
  3. Whether spousal maintenance is being paid by the pensioner.
  4. Is non-veteran partner still in payment with DVA?

A copy of the Decree Absolute.

Copy of any papers relating to property settlement.

Copy of any Family Court order relating to payment of spousal maintenance.

An income/assets review form to be completed with current circumstances (if not done already).

Pensioner should have copies of these papers.

The Supreme Court keeps copies of pre-1975 property settlement papers, or contact the pensioner's solicitor. Since 1975 property settlements have been handled by the Family Court of Australia.

The Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages can provide the date of the Decree Absolute.

Separated couple reconcile

  1. Date of reconciliation.
  2. Partner's financial circumstances - check to see if separated partner remained in payment with DVA.

Statements from client and partner.

Income/asset review forms to be completed.

The client and the reconciled partner will provide the statements required, but if you require further verification then supporting statements from friends, family or some other third party may be requested.

Notes on table 6

A person who wilfully makes a false statement in a statutory declaration under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 as amended is guilty of an offence against that Act. The punishment for which is a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both, if the offence is prosecuted summarily, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years if the offence is prosecuted upon indictment.

A statutory declaration under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 as amended may be made only before a Chief, Police, Resident or Special Magistrate, Stipendiary Magistrate or any Magistrate in respect of whose office an annual salary is payable, a Justice of the Peace; a person authorised under any law in force in Australia or its Territories to take affidavits, a person appointed under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 as amended or under a State Act to be a Commissioner for Declarations, a person appointed as a Commissioner for Declarations under the Statutory Declarations Act 1911, or under that Act as amended, and holding office immediately before the commencement of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, a Notary Public, a person before whom a statutory declaration may be made under the law of the State in which a declaration is made, or a person appointed to hold, or act in, the office in a country or place outside Australia of Australian Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul, Trade Commissioner, Consular Agent, Ambassador, High Commissioner, Minister, Head of Mission, Commissioner, Charge d'Affaires, or Counsellor, Secretary or Attache at an Embassy, High Commissioner's office, Legation or other post.

Guidelines for investigating relationship status (including defacto). These are contained in section 11A VEA.    

VEA ?

De facto relationships

Section 11A VEA

VEA ? (go back)

  • Length and exclusiveness of relationship.
  • Is there a sexual relationship?
  • Is there a mutually supportive relationship (i.e. emotional rather than, or in addition to, the sexual relationship)?
  • Are there shared finances (i.e. joint accounts, shared assets, shared bills)?
  • Is the housework shared?
  • Is there a shared social life?
  • How do friends and family perceive the relationship?
  • How do they introduce themselves (i.e. as husband and partner, or as friends)?
  • If there are any children from the relationship, who supports them emotionally and financially?

To verify the above you may need to obtain:

  • details of financial circumstances, such as bank statements, investment certificates, loan documents, credit cards, mortgage/rental papers, title deeds, insurance policies that are held in joint names
  • copies of tax returns
  • statements from friends and family
  • a separate interview from each partner to ensure both have the same idea of the relationship
  • an assurance from Centrelink that they are either not paying, or are paying only one of the partners, at the partnered or single rate.

In certain cases it may be useful to seek address histories from various State or Australian Government bodies including State traffic authorities, financial institutions, Centrelink, ATO, Australian Electoral Commission etc. These cases may include:

  • where a determination is made that a client is in a de facto relationship, and consequently pension is reduced from a particular date, however, documents contained on the client's pension file indicate otherwise
  • where the client still asserts that they are not in a de facto relationship.