What Are Consent Orders in Australia?

What is a Consent Order?

In Australia, consent orders are used in cases where the parties do not require the Court to make a decision for them. The parties come to an agreement on their own, which is then written in the form of consent orders that the parties then file in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to be made as formal court orders.  

Consent orders can be made in regards to parenting and/or financial matters like, property settlement or spousal maintenance, and can also be used in some circumstances to vary or discharge existing family court orders.

Minute of Consent

A minute of Consent refers to the document that contains the proposed Consent Orders and is submitted with an Application for Consent Orders when asking the Court to approve the orders. 

Draft consent orders are written and submitted by a family lawyer on your behalf. There are a range of considerations when preparing an Application for Consent Orders, which vary depending on the family law matter being negotiated. For example, if the consent orders are for parenting arrangements then the Court must consider if the orders are in the best interests of the dependents involved. If the consent orders are regarding financial arrangements or relate to a property settlement, the Court needs to consider if the orders are just and equitable for both parties.

How Long Does a Consent Order Last For?

A consent order can last in perpetuity, which means it is ongoing and can last indefinitely. Once a consent order is approved and made by the Court, it is valid in perpetuity unless one party later successfully applies to have it set aside.

What is the Purpose of a Consent Order?

The purpose of a consent order is to make a record of the agreement between parties and to ensure the agreement is legally enforceable.

The consent order is given legal force when it is approved by the Court and what this means is all parties are legally bound by the order to the same degree as a decision imposed by the Court.

Applying for Consent Orders

The first step before applying for consent orders is to start seeking legal advice from an experienced family law firm and engage a family lawyer.

An experienced family lawyer will be able to inform you of your legal rights and guide you through the relevant sections of the Family Law Act that apply to your circumstances, from parenting orders to property matters.

They will be able to assist you in making reaching an informal agreement with your former partner and know how best to propose the agreement when drafting the consent orders.

Consent Orders Cost

According to the FCFCOA, the filing fee for an Application for Consent Orders is $170. See the full list of Family Law Court fees here.

Can the Court Reject a Consent Order?

The Court can reject your Application for consent orders if it believes the orders are not in the best interests of dependents, or, is not fair to both parties. This is a determination the Court must make in reviewing the application, regardless of the fact that both parties have agreed to the conditions set out in the draft orders.

Are there any time restrictions in filing consent orders for financial orders?

You can file an Application for Consent Orders anytime after your marriage has broken down on a final basis. If you have a Divorce Order, then you have 12 months to either commence proceedings in court or file an Application for Consent Orders in relation to financial matters. a de facto relationship, you can file within two years of the separation date in relation to financial matters.

To file an Application for Consent Orders outside of these time frames, you will need to seek leave of the Court to file the application. If you need more information or legal advice on applying for consent orders, contact an experienced family lawyer.

Seeking Legal Advice on Consent Orders?

If you are considering applying for consent orders, you will need to seek legal advice from a legal professional. For further information, contact one of Sydney’s leading family lawyers and book a FREE 15 minute consultation.