Consent Orders

The end of a marriage or de facto relationship doesn’t necessarily mean fighting it out in court. AJB Stevens can help you in getting court approval for arrangements that you and your partner consent to.

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We can help with:

Divorce

Court Approval via Consent Orders

Get backing from the family court for matters that both sides agree to
Divorce

Parenting Consent Orders

Get the court’s seal on matters relating to children
Divorce

Financial Consent Orders

Get the court’s seal on how property is to be divided and any ongoing payments
Divorce

Mediation

Helping both sides arrive at a mutual agreement

Can AJB Stevens Help Me?

Are you and your former partner or spouse able to agree on the distribution of your property, or ongoing maintenance payments?

Are you or and your former partner or spouse able to agree to ongoing parenting arrangements?

Do you seek a seal from the family court, a consent order, to make your agreement enforceable?

Do you need assistance in a mediation?

If you have answered yes to any of these points then AJB Stevens can help. Our lawyers are the experts and industry leaders in consent orders and family law. We understand that family matters are very sensitive issues and always treat our clients with compassion and empathy while providing you utmost privacy. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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Consent Orders

After a relationship or marriage breaks down, it is important for both former partners/spouses to work out how their finances will be settled, and how to co-operate in the continued parenting of children from the relationship.

Once an agreement is reached, an application can be made to the court for a consent order to formalise and enforce that agreement.

Parenting Consent Order

On separation, or the end of a relationship, a married or de facto couple need to agree on arrangements for any children of the relationship. This includes who has parental responsibility (what was formerly referred to as ‘custody’ or ‘child custody’), who the children live with, and who they may communicate and spend time with.

While this could be achieved informally through a ‘parenting plan’, in order to ensure that the arrangement is legally enforceable, it is necessary to get a court order.

Property or Financial Consent Order

On separation, or the end of a relationship, a married or de facto couple should seek agreement on how their property and financial affairs are to be arranged going forward. This includes how the existing property is divided and agreement to any ongoing support or ‘maintenance’ payments.

Binding Financial Agreements

Instead of a property or financial consent order, both partners could sign a binding financial agreement. While this has legal effect, it is not submitted to the court and need not be ‘just and equitable’.

Orders without Consent

If both spouses of partners are unable to agree on matters, they cannot apply for a consent order. However, they may still apply to the court for these matters to be settled under a separate process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Consent Orders?
A consent order is an order which the court can make, with the consent of both partners, about their property, financial affairs or about the continued parenting of their children.
Why do we need a consent order?

There are several options for couples that seek to agree on matters following the breakdown of the marriage or relationship. Parties can informally agree on how property is to be divided, or ongoing support payments. Or, they can agree on a ‘Parenting Plan’, setting out how ongoing parenting (sometimes called ‘child custody’) and care of the children is to work. However, neither of these options is legally enforceable.

By making an application to the court for a consent order, the result is a set of arrangements that both former partners can rely on, going forward.

An alternative is to enter into a ‘binding financial agreement’, which is an agreement which meets strict legal conditions under the Family Law Act 1975.

What are the benefits of Consent Orders?
A consent order is enforceable in court. In addition, a consent order is final, giving certainty to both parties. Only in very limited circumstances can it be subsequently varied.
What does a consent order include?

A parenting consent order deals with parental responsibility (formerly referred to as ‘child custody’), where the children will live, who the children may communicate with, and how the children will spend time with each parent. The court will consider a range of matters when making such an order including:

  • Whether children should spend equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of their parents;
  • Any matters laid out in a previously agreed to parenting plan;
  • What happens on the death of a parent;
  • Whether a post-separation parenting program is desirable;
  • Relevant cultural matters (such as kinship obligations) that apply to Indigenous Australians.

The court’s paramount interest will be in the welfare of the children.

A financial or property consent order might include how property is to be divided, access to superannuation or redundancy payments and any provision for ongoing maintenance payments

How long does it take to get consent orders?

By applying to the court with an application for consent orders and filling out all annexures. This should be accompanied with a draft version of the consent order. 

The documents should be signed, dated and filed. If the Registrar considers that the consent order or orders should not be approved you will be informed of this and the reason for it. 

For more information see the Family Court of Australia’s How do I apply for Consent Orders?

How much does it cost for a consent order?

The filing fee is $165. Note that if you seek legal advice in respect to the consent orders, this will be an additional cost.

Can we draft our own consent order?

Yes. However, there is a risk that consent orders that you draft yourself will contain errors and be rejected by the court. In order to avoid this possibility, we recommend that you seek legal advice from a specialist family lawyer in the drafting of the orders.

Who decides whether our consent order is fair?

This decision is made by the court. However, you do not usually have to attend a hearing in court. The order is usually assessed ‘on the papers’ by a Registrar.

What if we’re close to reaching an agreement, but not quite there?

You must reach an agreement in order to apply for consent orders, as they require the consent of both parties. AJB Stevens can assist you in reaching an agreement.

What if we don’t agree on the Orders?

If you cannot come to an agreement, despite the best efforts of both parties, then you cannot apply for a consent order. Instead, you must make different applications to the court, such as an application to divide property, for maintenance and for the parenting arrangements for children.

Do both parties need a lawyer for a consent order?

It is recommended. As a consent order is difficult to set aside, it substantially affects the legal interests of both parties. Therefore, it is recommended that each party receive independent advice from a specialist family lawyer.

Can we get a consent order before divorce?

Yes, applications can be made at any time after separation, but must be filed within 12 months of a divorce or two years of the end of a de facto relationship.

What if only one person wants the consent order?

You cannot apply for a consent order without the consent of both of the partners. In that case, you must file an Application in court asking the court to make orders. There is a separate court process for orders without consent.

Will the court accept our consent order?

The court will check that the documentation meets formal requirements (such as being signed), and determine whether it is ‘just and equitable’ in the circumstances.

What if we want to change it after orders have been made?

The consent order can only be varied or set aside in limited circumstances. This includes where there has been a miscarriage of justice such as fraud or the giving of false evidence, or where new circumstances mean enforcing the order now causes significant hardship.

 

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At AJB Stevens, we work to help protect your legal rights. Our ability to offer each and every one of our clients professional and personalised service means we work hard to help win your case. Our directors are personally involved in each case so you can rest assured that a senior team member is always prioritising your case.

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Adrian Barakat - Personal Injury Law Specialist

Adrian Barakat

Director

How can we help?

Each Consent Order is different and unique in its own right. Seeking the help of AJB Stevens will ensure that you receive the help that you are entitled to, to help get your life back on track.

“The team at AJB Stevens Lawyer have been nothing short of amazing. They played a pivotal role in my compensation claim and I would highly recommend their services for clients like myself” – Khoa, Canley Vale