Reaching an amicable decision with your former partner or spouse is always preferable to litigation. We can assist you to draft consent orders in relation to property division and the care of children.
If both parties can agree on how to divide assets, and/or on the care, welfare and development of their children, the Family Court can make orders by consent. This does not require either of you to attend court, but merely to submit your agreement for the court's approval.
The Family Court is obliged to take into account a number of matters to determine whether the proposed consent orders are "just and equitable". It is not simply a "rubber stamping" exercise. The court must review all of your financial details in light of your agreement to decide if the division is just and equitable. If children are involved, the court will look at whether the agreement is in the best interests of the child.
Once the Family Court approves the consent orders, it will seal them and send a sealed copy to both parties. Breaching the terms of the consent orders can result in various consequences, depending on the seriousness of the breach.
Stacks Law Firm can provide advice and help you to negotiate consent orders with your former spouse or partner that are fair. We will draft the consent orders and submit all relevant documentation. We can also assist you to make changes to any existing Family Court orders.
Commonly asked questions about Consent orders:
Do I need a lawyer to make consent orders?
No. You can file an application for consent orders at a family law registry, or electronically on the Commonwealth Courts portal. Currently the fee is $160.
The court will not automatically make the consent orders you have agreed upon. Seeking legal advice can help you to ensure that you have given due consideration to all of the relevant issues, and that nothing has been missed. A lawyer will assist you to make an agreement that is fair and just, and advise you about the court’s likely response, particularly regarding the best interests of children.
What are the advantages of making consent orders?
It means that the agreement you have made is binding and legally enforceable. It means that there can be no misunderstanding in the future, or areas for dispute if one person changes their mind. If your former spouse or partner breaches a consent order, there will be a penalty, the nature of which will depend on whether the breach was minor or major. For example, for serious breaches the court could order them to pay a fine, or legal costs, or to compensate you. It could even result in a prison sentence.
Are there time limits on making consent orders?
An application for consent orders in relation to a property or financial settlement must be filed within 12 months of a divorce, or within two years of a de facto relationship breaking down.
What if the court does not agree to the consent orders?
If there are any concerns about your application, then the Registrar will issue a notice asking you to address the concerns within a specified time frame. Failing to respond to the notice will mean that your application is dismissed.
What is the difference between consent orders and parenting plans?
A parenting plan is an informal agreement between two parties about matters affecting children of the relationship, such as where they live and the responsibilities of each parent. Unlike consent orders, parenting plans are not binding or legally enforceable. Obtaining consent orders formalises the agreement and makes it legally enforceable.