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.
Going against court orders is called contravention or breach of orders. Consent orders can be about custody of children, parenting arrangements and parental responsibility as well as financial matters such as property settlement and spousal maintenance. You can apply for different types of consent orders (parenting or financial) at the same time. Your case may already be ongoing in court.
If, however, you and the other party come to an agreement during the legal proceedings, you can make an application for consent orders to resolve the current family dispute. When both parties sign the consent orders, this shows the court that they have reached a consensus and are satisfied with the proposed orders. Consent orders can also be used to change or to end existing family court orders.
For example, if certain parenting orders are no longer practical because one party has moved to a new house, the parties can apply for consent orders to adapt their current parenting orders if they both agree on the change. There is a time limit for applying for consent orders.
This limit is after separation and up to 12 months after the finalisation of divorce for married couples and within two years of the breakdown of the relationship for de facto couples.