There are exceptions to the normal 12 month rule, and you should seek advice from a registered migration lawyer to secure this.
One exception is where you lodge a Declaration of Relationship with the DIAC.
To be eligible, you need to reside in one of the following States/Territories of Australia:
- Tasmania; and
Other exceptions are available – eg where the defacto wife is pregnant, or where there is some other compelling and compassionate circumstances.
Obviously applications which require seeking exceptions are more difficult, and need to be carefully drafted.
This increases the need to engage an experienced migration lawyer.
It is the opinion of The Migration Place that the 12 month rule will be relaxed in the future to reflect the fact that more couples choose to remain in a defacto common law marriage, over a conventional marriage.
This shift is also reflected in the Family Law Act which was recently amended to recognise defacto relationships after 3 months of co-habitation.