What are Consent Orders?
Consent Orders are agreements made between separated or divorced couples that have been formalised by the Family or Federal Magistrate's Court. Consent orders can be used to make agreements about the care of children, for the division of property or for ongoing maintenance for a husband or wife.
Consent Orders have the same legal effect as an order made after a Court hearing. Consent Orders are final and once made, it's very difficult to overturn or vary the orders.
The Court encourages families to reach an agreement about issues relating to property and minor children after a family breakdown. The Court recommends that separated or divorced couples read the brochure 'Marriage, Separation and Divorce' before applying for divorce and when seeking Consent Orders through the Courts.
When to use the Consent Orders Online Application
The Consent Orders Online Application form prepares all the documents and forms that you need to apply for Consent Orders, including the completed application form and Draft Consent Orders (the signed agreement which you wish to have made into court orders.)
You can use the Consent Orders Online Application to obtain an order when you have reached agreement about:
- Your property (the Court must consider that the agreement is 'just and equitable'); and
- Spousal maintenance for a husband or wife.
You cannot use the Consent Orders Online Application to make orders about children's issues or to split or transfer superannuation.
When to seek formal legal advice
The Consent Orders Online Application is designed for straight-forward situations, where separated or divorced couples want to transfer or sell their matrimonial home and make other financial agreements between them legally binding.
The Consent Orders Online Application should not be used when:
- You are unable to reach an agreement with your ex about child arrangements, maintenance and/or property;
- Your divorce was made final more than 1 year ago (you should file an Application in a Case seeking the Court’s permission to bring an application for property settlement/maintenance);
- You are a de facto couple and there are no children of the relationship (or you do not meet other requirements);
- You are seeking one of the following:
- financial support (maintenance) as a party to a de facto relationship;
- a prenuptial agreement or other type of binding financial agreement;
- parenting orders, child support or a child support departure order;
- a superannuation transfer or splitting order;
- Child maintenance for children covered by the Child Support (Assessment) Act, that is, those under 18 who were born after 1 October 1989 or whose parents separated after that date—this is handled by the Child Support Agency;
- Declarations about the existence of a de facto relationship;
- Medical procedures;
- Orders under cross vesting laws;
- A parenting order in favour of a person who is not a parent, grandparent or other relative.
This does not necessarily mean that you cannot apply for Consent Orders. If any of the above circumstances apply to your situation, then it's recommended that you seek formal legal advice. The Consent Orders Online Application is not a substitute for and should not be used as legal advice.
Things to think about before you start
When you are seeking Consent Orders, it is important that you understand the nature and effect of the orders that you are seeking. To help you understand this, it is recommended that you read the relevant parts of the Family Law Act.
When you are seeking property orders in relation to a marriage, you should read and consider the parts about the alteration of property interests (s 79). If you are seeking spousal maintenance, then you should read the matters to be taken into consideration in relation to spousal maintenance sections 72, 74 & 75.
If you are seeking financial orders as a party to a de facto relationship then please read the section of the Family Law Act relating to de facto couples.
List of required information
Before you start completing the form online, you may wish to collect some important information first. Because it's important that all assets are declared, you may find it useful to download and print a List of Required Information for Consent Orders.
What happens once the form has been submitted?
Once you have received your documents, it will then be necessary for you to:
- Sign the papers
- Submit the papers to the Court
- Pay the Court filing fee (the fee is $160 as at 1 July 2016)
Your kit comes with an information guide written in plain language and step-by-instructions.