How long do consent orders take in Australia?
The time it takes to obtain consent orders in Australia can vary depending on several factors, including:
- The complexity of the case
- The workload of the court
- Whether any additional information or documentation is required from the parties
However, as a general rule, consent orders can be obtained within 6-8 weeks of the application being lodged with the court.
Step-by-Step Procedure for Getting a Consent Order in Australia
Obtaining a consent order in Australia involves a structured legal process. It’s crucial to follow each step carefully, as errors or omissions can lead to delays or rejection of the application.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to understanding this process:
- Negotiate Agreements:
- Before you can apply for a consent order, all parties involved need to come to a mutual agreement on matters such as property division, finances, and, if applicable, arrangements for children.
- This stage might involve informal discussions, mediation, or negotiation through solicitors. It’s vital to have open, honest communication and a willingness to compromise.
- Obtain Legal Advice (Recommended):
- Although it’s not mandatory, obtaining independent legal advice is highly recommended. A family lawyer can help you understand your rights, ensure the agreement is fair, and confirm that the legal criteria for a consent order are met. They can advise you on the likely outcome if you take the matter to court instead.
- Drafting the Application:
- Once an agreement is reached, the terms must be detailed in a formal document. You’ll use the ‘Application for Consent Orders’ form for property and financial orders. Additional documentation outlining the agreed arrangements will be necessary if matters concerning children are involved.
- The application should elucidate all agreement terms and any annexures or supporting documents required, such as financial statements or parenting plans.
- Review of the Application:
- Before submission, it’s critical to review the application to ensure all information is accurate and necessary disclosures are made. Missing or incorrect information can delay the process.
- This step might be performed by your legal advisor, ensuring the agreement meets legal standards and the terms are just and equitable.
- Submission to the Family Court:
- You will submit the completed application to the Family Court. This can often be done by post, electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal, or in person at a local family law registry.
- A filing fee is usually required for the application. In financial hardship, you can apply for a fee reduction or exemption.
- Court Evaluation:
- The court does not simply rubber-stamp the orders. A registrar or judge will review your application to ensure the orders sought are in the children’s best interests (for parenting matters) and that the agreement is just and equitable (for financial matters).
- The court may ask for more information if there are any areas of concern or if parts of your application need clarification.
- Issuance of Consent Orders:
- If the court is satisfied that the proposed consent orders meet all legal thresholds, they will approve them. You will receive sealed orders, making them legally binding.
- The orders have the same effect as if made after a contested court hearing.
- After the consent orders have been made, all parties must strictly comply with the terms. Non-compliance can lead to legal enforcement or contempt of court proceedings.
Remember, while the process might seem straightforward, complications can arise, mainly when dealing with complex assets, superannuation splits, or disputes about arrangements for children. Legal advice is invaluable to ensure your interests are protected and the process runs smoothly.
How Long Do Consent Orders Take in Australia?
At Justice Family Lawyers, we expedite this process, providing clarity and resolution at the speed you need. Don’t let legal procedures cloud your peace of mind. Contact us today, and let our dedicated team guide you with expertise, ensuring your consent orders are filed efficiently and accurately, saving you precious time and unnecessary stress. Trust Justice Family Lawyers—where swift action meets compassionate service.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.