So, you've met the love of your life and you're planning your wedding. It just so happens the love of your life is from overseas, so what steps do you need to take?
Spousal Visa Rights
The ball is rolling, your application is pending, and you're ready to walk down the aisle.
There are two different types of partner visas – the provisional visa is temporary (subclass 309), while the migrant visa is permanent. The former allows a partner to stay in Australia temporarily until the permanent subclass 100 visa is confirmed. It takes anywhere from 6 to 32 months for either type of visa to be approved.
Once the subclass 100 visa is approved, your spouse is entitled to work, study, and live in Australia. They can sponsor family members to enter the country and apply for citizenship if eligible. They can access Australian healthcare and access English lessons if necessary.
Children, Property, and Estate Planning
If you have children with your spouse, they are automatically a citizen as long as one parent is an Australian citizen. Additionally, your spouse is entitled to healthcare as part of their visa.
You can still purchase a property if you aren't a citizen or permanent resident, and your spouse may be able to borrow as well. That is, as long as you are making the purchase together. It's likely lenders will expect you to make the purchase as joint tenants.
When you get married (or divorced), you should speak to your estate lawyer to update your will. It's an important part of the estate planning process and ensures everyone is protected in the event of your death.
When To Consult a Family Lawyer
According to Jennifer Hetherington, a veteran in Australian family law, getting married to a foreign national can be simple or very, very complicated.
“The struggles of visa restrictions aside, you will need to ensure your partner is aware of the legal implications of applying to be your spouse. It's a mistake to look only at the initial visa restrictions. As a couple, you should see a family lawyer before you tie the knot.”
After the Marriage
You will need to sign three separate certifications on your wedding day and these must be signed by you, your spouse, two witnesses, and the celebrant. The celebrant has 14 days from the date of your marriage to submit the paperwork to your state or territory's Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. You will need to apply for an official marriage certificate, this is required for name changes or proof of marriage.
Nobody goes into a marriage thinking about divorce, but the process is something you should familiarise yourself with before you take the plunge and get hitched. The impact of your divorce differs from a divorce between two Australian citizens.