Following separation, it’s important to ensure that the terms of your parenting and property arrangements are respected and protected – regardless of whether amiability or personal situations change. Thankfully, filing a legally-binding document known as a Consent Order does just that. But how long do Consent Orders take?

The answer to this question depends on several steps in the process, as well as the circumstances at hand. Below, we explain how long it takes for Consent Orders to be issued, from negotiation to final approval. We’ll also take a look at key factors affecting the time frame for these legally-enforceable terms to be put in place.

Firstly, what is a Consent Order in the Family Court?

A Consent Order is a legal document detailing an agreement between two parties, which is lodged in the Family Court to confirm and enforce parenting or property arrangements. There are two types of Consent Order:

  • A Parenting Order details arrangements relating to any shared children. For example, when, where and for how long each parent can spend time with the child.
  • A Property Order concerns matters relating to shared assets, such as spousal maintenance, superannuation splits and sale of property.

While there is no legal obligation to officiate your agreement, Consent Orders take a weight off your shoulders by ensuring the terms are legally binding. As a result, you can minimise the risk of potential conflict over arrangements in the future.

How long do Consent Orders take?

The complete process for Consent Orders in Australia, from negotiating terms to issuing the formal agreement, generally takes six to eight weeks. However, this duration varies depending on circumstances, such as whether there is a superannuation split involved and how many applications the Family Court is currently processing.

Below, we detail the steps involved in filing for Consent Orders and their time frames.

Negotiating arrangements

Ideally, you will reach an amicable agreement on parenting and property arrangements with your former partner before drafting Consent Orders.

However, in some cases you may not be able to agree on these arrangements. Depending on the attitudes and behaviour of both parties during negotiation, this step can contribute considerable time to the overall process of organising Consent Orders.

That’s why we recommend seeking the support of an experienced family lawyer with an in-depth understanding of relevant legislation. Your lawyer will inform you of your rights and responsibilities, helping to negotiate a fair and equitable outcome as efficiently as possible.

Applying for Consent Orders

Once arrangements have been agreed upon, you must draft an Application for Consent Orders and Minute of Consent Orders, which details the full terms at hand.

To ensure these documents are legally enforceable and to prevent any unnecessary delays, they should be drafted by an experienced family lawyer. Otherwise, the Court may return the documents with requests for further action required – a potentially time-consuming step that can be avoided.

You may also need to prepare and file additional documents depending on your circumstances. For example, you will need to submit an affidavit if you were in a de facto relationship, or if your Financial Order involves splitting superannuation, then you may require approval from your fund. This added layer of admin and paperwork can extend the total length of time it takes to arrange Consent Orders.

Reviewing & issuing Consent Orders

Next, you will need to file all necessary documents in the Family Court for approval. For a standard Application, Consent Orders are usually reviewed and issued within four to six weeks of submission.

This duration depends on the Family Court’s resources and the amount of applications they are currently reviewing. However, you may be able to apply for urgent processing in extenuating circumstances.

Note that an Application for Parenting Orders may be filed any time following separation. On the other hand, an Application for Property Orders must be lodged within one year of divorce, or two years of de-facto separation.

Once the Court is satisfied that the proposed agreement is just and equitable, the Orders will be made and their terms legally binding. Finally, each party will receive a copy of the Orders.

Get tailored advice on Consent Orders in WA

When it comes to Consent Orders, the quicker you can finalise arrangements the better. This way, you can enjoy peace of mind that you and your children’s best interests are protected as soon as possible.

In order to ensure you fully understand your rights and and responsibilities under the arrangement terms, it’s important to seek expert legal advice before reaching an agreement. At Affinitas Legal, our family lawyers in Perth can help you with all matters concerning Consent Orders.

Please get in touch today for personalised support and fixed-fee applications.