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Is a Consent Order Legally Binding?

Is a Consent Order Legally Binding | Justice Family Lawyers

Yes, a consent order is legally binding in Australia. It is a written agreement approved by a court, typically used in family law matters such as the division of property or arrangements regarding children after a separation.

Once the court approves a consent order, it has the same legal effect as a court order made after a hearing.

The process involves both parties agreeing to the terms, which are then submitted to the court for approval. If the court is satisfied that the agreement is equitable and in the best interests of the children involved, it will make the consent order.

Once made, parties are legally obliged to comply with the terms of the order. Breaching a consent order can result in legal consequences, including possible enforcement actions or penalties.

This binding nature of consent orders ensures that the agreement is taken seriously and adhered to by all parties involved.

What does a consent order include?

Consent orders are used to formalise agreements between parties involved in family law matters. They primarily cover:

Parenting Arrangements:

  • Where the child(ren) will live
  • How much time the child(ren) will spend with each parent?
  • Parental responsibilities (decision-making about education, health, etc.)
  • Communication arrangements between parents and children
  • Specific arrangements for holidays, birthdays, special occasions

Financial and Property Settlements:

  • Division of assets (house, investments, superannuation, etc.)
  • Management of debts and liabilities (mortgages, credit cards etc.)
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Any ongoing financial arrangements

Other Matters:

  • Specific clauses to prevent future disputes: This might include terms about how to manage future changes or unexpected issues.
  • Provisions for dispute resolution: Outlining preferred methods for resolving any disagreements that might arise under the order, such as mediation or arbitration.

Do I need a solicitor to create a consent order?

While you are not legally required to use a solicitor to create a consent order, it is highly recommended to do so. 

Solicitors provide valuable legal expertise, ensure the document is correctly drafted, and help negotiate fair terms. 

They are also familiar with the court procedures for submitting a consent order. Engaging a solicitor can ensure that your rights are protected, the agreement is enforceable, and that it meets the court’s requirements for approval, giving you peace of mind throughout the process.

Can a consent order be changed once it is set?

Yes, a consent order can be changed, but there are specific conditions under which this can occur.

Changing a consent order usually involves demonstrating to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made. Here are some scenarios where a consent order might be changed:

  1. Significant Change in Circumstances: This could include a substantial change in financial circumstances, such as loss of employment, significant change in income, or health issues. In the case of parenting orders, changes like relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or issues concerning the child’s safety could justify an alteration.
  2. Best Interests of the Children: For orders pertaining to children, any proposed changes must align with the children’s best interests, which is the paramount consideration in family law.
  3. Consent of Both Parties: If both parties agree to the changes, they can jointly apply to the court to vary the existing order. This is often the simplest and least contentious way to modify a consent order.
  4. Court Approval: Any changes must be approved by the court to ensure they are just and equitable or in the children’s best interests. The court will only grant a variation if there is a compelling reason to do so.

To initiate a change, parties typically need to submit a new application or consent order to the court, detailing the proposed changes and the reasons for them. Legal advice is recommended when considering altering a consent order to ensure the changes are appropriately documented and justified legally.

Also read: Setting Aside Consent Orders Family Law

Seek Reliable Guidance with Justice Family Lawyers

A consent order is legally binding and ensures that agreements on property, finances, and parenting are enforceable by law. Don’t go through the application process alone—let Justice Family Lawyers guide you with professionalism and care.

We ensure that your consent order is crafted meticulously to meet your needs and circumstances. Contact us today to secure your future and uphold your rights.

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