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What Happens When the Court Disagrees with Consent Order?

court disagrees with consent order | Justice Family Lawyers

When a court disagrees with a consent order, it won’t be approved as-is.  The judge will usually outline specific reasons for their disagreement. 

This could be due to the order being unfair, unreasonable, not adequately considering the needs of any children involved, or if one party was pressured into the agreement. In these scenarios, the parties involved must revise the order’s terms and resubmit the amended version. 

They may need to provide additional information or attend a court hearing to explain and justify the decisions within the revised consent order. 

It’s strongly recommended to seek legal advice throughout this process, as an experienced lawyer can help ensure the amended consent order can help ensure the amended order meets the court’s standards, addresses the initial concerns, and protects the interests of those involved. 

Why Might a Court Disagree With a Consent Order?

Here are some common reasons why an Australian court might disagree with a consent order, especially within the context of family law:

  • Unfairness or lack of “just and equitable” terms: The court has a responsibility to ensure any agreement is fair to both parties. A consent order might be rejected if it heavily favours one person while significantly disadvantaging the other, particularly regarding financial settlements or property division.
  • Inadequate consideration of children’s best interests: The court prioritises the well-being of any children involved. A consent order may be rejected if the parenting arrangements, child support provisions, or other aspects are insufficient in protecting the child’s best interests.
  • Duress or undue influence: The court must ensure both parties entered the agreement freely and without coercion. The order may be deemed invalid if there is evidence of pressure, threats, or manipulation during the negotiation of the terms.
  • Lack of full disclosure: Both parties must completely and honestly disclose their financial circumstances. The order will likely be rejected if the court suspects that assets or income have been hidden, leading to an unfair agreement.
  • Procedural errors or incorrect format: Consent orders must follow specific legal requirements and formatting. If the document has administrative or technical errors, the court may not approve the orders until these errors are corrected.

While you can technically appeal a court’s decision on a consent order in Australia, there are significant limitations, and success is not guaranteed. 

Appealing a consent order is an uphill battle. Courts tend to uphold agreements freely entered into by both parties. You must present strong evidence to prove at least one of the limited grounds mentioned above.

Also read: How Long For Consent Order To Be Sealed

How Do I Modify a Consent Order in Australia?

Modifying a consent order in Australia, particularly in family law matters such as child custody or property settlements, requires a specific process to ensure that the new order is legally enforceable. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Review the Original Order: First, it is important to understand the terms of the original consent order. Check if there are any provisions about how and when the order can be changed.
  2. Agreement Between Parties: If both parties agree to modify the consent order, they can negotiate the new terms mutually. The agreement must be in writing and should address all aspects of the order that are being changed.
  3. Prepare a New Consent Order: A new consent order must be drafted once the parties have agreed on the changes. This should clearly outline the modifications and how they alter the original order.
  4. File the New Consent Order: The new consent order must be filed with the court for approval. This typically involves submitting the agreement to the same court that issued the original order. The court needs to review the new consent order to ensure it is in the best interests of any children involved and that it is just and equitable to both parties.
  5. Court Approval: The court will review the proposed modifications. If the court is satisfied that the changes are fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the parties (especially children, in the case of custody agreements), it will approve the order. The court may request additional information or a court appearance if there are concerns or if the changes are significant.
  6. Implementation: Once approved, the new consent order replaces the relevant parts of the original order and is legally enforceable. Both parties must adhere to the terms of the revised order.

If you do not have mutual agreement on the changes, you may need to apply to the court for a variation of the order.

This involves demonstrating to the court why the changes are necessary, such as a significant change in circumstances since the original order was made.

The court will then decide whether to modify the order based on the evidence presented.

Experienced Guidance Through Complex Family Law Matters

When the court disagrees with your consent order, it’s crucial to have experienced lawyers who can navigate the complexities of family law on your side. At Justice Family Lawyers, we specialise in reviewing and revising consent orders to meet the court’s requirements.

Contact us today to ensure your agreement stands the best chance of approval.

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