A more contemporary and simplified process for the way Defence recognises registered and de facto relationships has been introduced.
“Service life adds an extra set of pressures to families and relationships. DFA and DEFGLIS understand this and have been working very closely with Defence on your behalf to achieve fair recognition of modern relationships” says Robyn Ritchie, National Convenor for Defence Families of Australia.
“Families have come to DFA when they have had difficulties getting their request for relationship recognition approved and we have been working to ensure processes are fairer and easier to navigate.”
The updated policy and procedures will ensure alignment with community expectations and legislative expectations requirements.
All couples must now provide a minimum of one piece of evidence to support recognition of their relationship.
There is no longer a mandatory waiting or cohabitation period before a couple can apply for recognition providing they usually live together.
DEFGLIS and Defence Families of Australia (DFA) have been assisting families who have had difficulties with de facto relationship recognition for many years.
Vince Chong, president of DEFGLIS, said this would come as a relief for de facto couples, but particularly same-sex couples.
"Changes which go into effect tomorrow represent a big step forward for fairer processes and criteria that recognise the complexity of living arrangements and other challenges that may arise due to service in Defence," said Chong.
The policy for recognising children as dependants of ADF members has also been enhanced, starting 1 July 2016. The key changes to the policy relate solely to long-term foster children and expanding the coverage of dependants based on the member’s future arrangements.
Changes to the Dependants Determination take effect 1 July 2016.
The Pay and Conditions Website provides detailed information sheets about the new policy.
There are two separate steps in the process:
- recognition of the relationship, and
- determination of the categorisation and benefits that apply to a member.
Married couples and couples with state-based relationship registration should complete web-form AD150 ADF Personal Data and submit their marriage or relationship certificates as evidence.
De facto couples should complete the Application for Recognition of a De Facto Relationship form and attach a minimum of one piece of evidence, which might be a rental agreement, joint bank account or utility bill. The evidence provided should show that that a couple lives together on a genuine domestic basis.
An approving authority must accept the member's statement unless it is reasonable to believe there is a need for more information.
Long-term foster children under the care of an ADF member are now referred to as children with a permanent court order, aligning with current community standards. These children are now covered by Defence policy.
Members must inform their Commanding Officer if their family circumstances change within 14 days.
Defence may change a member’s relationship status at any time if incorrect information is provided, and the member may be subject to additional administrative or disciplinary action.
For more information on the changes to this policy, please visit the Pay and Conditions website.