Everything You Need To Know About Consent Orders in Queensland
What are Consent Orders?
A Consent Order is made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia formalising an agreement reached between parties after separation about parenting and/or property matters. A parenting order will only become legally binding if deemed to be in the best interests of the child. As a legally binding Order, each person affected by the Order must follow it.
A parenting order deals with a range of issues, including but not limited to:
- Who the child will reside with;
- How much time the child will spend with each parent;
- Whether one or both parents should have parental responsibility for the child/ren;
- How the child will communicate with the parents (or other people) they do not live with;
- Any other aspect of the care, welfare, and development of the child.
An agreement about how matrimonial property and debts are to be divided can also become legally binding if the Orders are just and equitable in light of all circumstances. Property can include a range of items, including but not limited to:
- Property owned jointly or independently;
- Business interests;
- Trust interests;
- Inheritance assets;
- Debts and loans.
How do you obtain Consent Orders?
Consent Orders can be obtained in a timely and effective manner using a three-step process.
- Discussions with the other party in order to reach an agreement. This can be done between the parties themselves, or through their respective solicitors.
- Preparation of the necessary documents that must be filed in Court. The first document is the Application for Consent Orders which sets out the details of each party and the children, and a statement of assets and liabilities for each party. The application must be accompanied by the Consent Orders themselves (Somethimes known as Minutes of Cosnent) which is a document reflecting the agreement reached and how the parties intend to put the agreement into action. If parties are seeking parenting orders, an Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Order must also be attached, outlining whether there is any risk of family violence to the children.
- The final step involves lodging the Application for Consent Orders with supporting documents with the Court.
Is there a time limit for obtaining Consent Orders?
An Application for Consent Orders can be filed 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 are the advantages?
- Consent Orders are legally binding meaning that both parties must comply with the agreement.
- Consent Orders are inexpensive compared to commencing court proceedings if parties are unable to agree.
- The Court will only make Consent Orders if the agreement is just and equitable.
- Parties have flexibility to decide what is best for themselves and their children (if any).
- Creates stability and certainty in relation to the care, welfare and development of the children.
- Minimizes the possibility of your former partner seeking to alter informal care arrangements of the children if circumstances change, and those arrangements are no longer suitable.
- Enables parties to sever financial ties by formally agreeing on the way in which assets are to be divided.
What are the disadvantages?
- Drafting the application and accompanying documents can take time to prepare. The Court also requires time to review the Consent Orders before making the agreement legally binding.
- Applying for Consent Orders carries a filing fee to be paid to the Court.
- Even if both parties change their mind about the agreements, Consent Orders are final and cannot be changed unless there has been a significant change in circumstances.
What are the consequences for breaching a Consent Order?
Contravening a Consent Order carries serious consequences by the Court unless you have a reasonable excuse. Penalties may include:
- Paying for any expenses incurred because of the contravention;
- Paying some or all of the other party’s legal costs;
- Community work;
- A fine;
- A jail term of up to 12 months for more serious contraventions.
Should you obtain legal advice?
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia provides a ‘do it yourself kit’ for Consent Orders. However, this DIY Kit does not include the drafting of the Minutes of Consent which need to be drafted properly so they can operate correctly.
The kit cannot compare to the expertise, experience, and knowledge that the team at James Noble Law posses to ensure that all your children’s and financial issues are protected within the Consent Orders.
We know what needs to be included to provide for an amicable and timely separation from your partner. If you require assistance preparing Consent Orders, please contact the team at James Noble Law to arrange a free and no-obligation consultation.
For more information about (Consent Orders), contact the Brisbane family lawyers team at James Noble Law today for a FREE, no-obligation 20-minute consultation. To schedule an appointment with one of our Qualified and experienced Family lawyers Brisbane.
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