Consent Orders are Orders made by the Court pursuant to an agreement reached between you and the other party. They can be made in relation to property or parenting matters, or both.
If you and your former spouse or de facto partner agree about how to divide your assets following separation, or arrangements for the care of your children, you can ask the Court to make orders by consent by way of Form 11 Application. You do not ordinarily need to attend a Court hearing in this process, and provided your agreement is just and equitable (or in the best interests of the children, for parenting orders), the Court will make consent orders in terms of your agreement.
You can also obtain consent orders if you are already in court proceedings at any stage at which you and the other party reach agreement. These can be either interim or final orders, and may be procedural orders about the way your matter should progress through the court process, or in relation to resolving substantive issues in dispute.
If you and your former partner or spouse have reached an agreement, you should take advice from a family lawyer to ensure:
- the Family Court is able to make the orders which you seek, within its jurisdiction.
- your agreement is likely to be considered by the Court to be just and equitable, or in the best interests of the children.
- there are no unintended consequences of your agreement, such as future tax implications.
- your Minute of Consent Orders is properly drafted so that the orders are clear, specific and enforceable.
- you have complied with the necessary requirements for the Court to make the orders you seek, such as providing procedural fairness to the trustee of your superannuation fund if necessary.
- your Form 11 Application and Minute of Consent Orders are in the proper form and are unlikely to be requisitioned by the Court (sent back to you for further information or rectification).
It is important to understand whether you and your former partner or spouse should enter into consent orders to formalise your agreement. Failure to do so could expose you to a future claim by your former partner or spouse.
For more information, see our article ‘Do I need consent orders?’