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Improved recognition for modern families from 1 July

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Defence has moved to a contemporary policy that provides equality for all couples seeking recognition of their relationship and coverage for children in foster care.

Policy and procedures have been updated to align 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.

Robyn Ritchie, national convenor of DFA, said that service life adds an extra set of pressures to families and relationships. 

“DFA and DEFGLIS understand this and have been working with Defence on your behalf to simplify the process for recognition of modern relationships,” said Ritchie.

The Pay and Conditions Website provides detailed information sheets about the new policy.

Both This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and DEFGLIS invite members to report any issues with relationship recognition once the changes come into effect on 1 July 2016.

Key Changes

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

About the Author
Author: Staff Writers
Contributors from the DEFGLIS membership, community and the Australian Defence Force.
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