You are able to finalise your parenting arrangements for children or how property will be divided in a property settlement by completing an application for consent orders.
What are consent orders?
In simple terms, consent orders are normally a fantastic outcome for you if you are able to come to an agreement with your ex-spouse.
A consent order is a type of court order made when the parties involved have already come to an agreement outside of court and wish to make this agreement official.
Consent orders do not involve court hearings.
Instead of the court hearing the case and making their decision about what the orders should be, the parties draft their own orders and apply to the court to have these orders approved.
Once the court accepts and approves an application for consent orders, the orders become enforceable, like any other court order, and both parties must follow them as they have been set out.
Consent orders can only be completed if you and your ex-partner can reach an agreement.
An application for consent orders can be made at the beginning, middle or end of a court matter.
If you and your ex have reached an agreement, there are major risks to leaving this agreement as informal.
A verbal or informal agreement can cause problems down the line.
There can be misunderstandings, or one side can attempt to change what was agreed upon if personal circumstances change.
What orders can I seek in Family Court Consent Orders?
You can apply for different types of consent orders (parenting or financial) at the same time.
When both people sign the consent orders, this shows the court that they have reached an agreement.
Consent orders can also be used to change or to end existing family court orders.
Do Consent Orders Expire?
Consent orders do not expire unless within the consent orders it stipulates an expiry date.
Consent orders example for property orders
An example of a consent order for a property order would be something like:
That within 42 days of making these Orders, the Husband is to sign all documents and do all things necessary to transfer his interest in the property situated at XXX to the Wife.
That simultaneously with the above order, the Wife is to pay to the Husband the sum of $500,000.
This is an example of an order that could be made for a property split.
Different types of orders can be made depending on what you and your ex-spouse want to achieve.
Consent orders example for parenting orders
An example of consent orders for parenting orders would be something like:
That the children shall spend time with the Father every second Friday from 3pm until Monday 9am.
That the changeover location for the children will be at the children’s school.
You can make a whole range of orders about child custody related issues, as long as you have an agreement between both people.
The Application for Consent Orders
When applying for consent orders, you will need to complete the “Application for Consent Orders” form.
This is a document that is approximately 25 pages.
If applying for property orders, both parties must disclose detailed personal and financial information, such as disclosure of all assets and their values.
If applying for parenting orders, you will need to disclose
In property matters, the Court can only make Orders which it considers to be “just and equitable”.
You will also have to file a Consent Order Minutes of Consent document to accompany the application form.
Consent Order Minutes of Consent
In this document, you provide details of what orders are sought by you and your spouse.
Examples of property orders or examples of parenting orders can be found above in this article.
IMPORTANT: The Registrar who receives your Application for Consent Orders and Minutes of Consent must be satisfied that the agreed property settlement or spousal maintenance arrangements are fair and reasonable and that the parenting arrangements are in the best interests of the child.
If the Court is not satisfied that this is the case, they can seek further explanation from the parties as to why the Court should approve the agreed terms.
What can I do if my Family Court Consent Orders have been rejected?
Even where the parties consent to the agreement, the Family Court can still refuse an application for consent orders where they think that the agreement is unfair or if they think that one party should receive more.
If rejected, the court may ask for more information from you or ask you to file a further affidavit explaining why you think the orders you are seeking are just and equitable.
You will have to read the Registrar’s list of requisitions very carefully and follow the instructions that they want you to do.
If it is too difficult to understand, you are best off obtaining legal advice.