Family Law: Consent Orders

Our lawyers are here to help you protect your child’s best interests now and into the future with a legally-binding parenting agreement.

As a parent, you want to protect your child’s best interests at all times. That’s why, following separation, it’s important to reach an agreement on parenting arrangements and take measures to ensure its terms are respected – even if circumstances change. Prepare for the future by finalising your agreement with Consent Orders, a legally enforceable document that details parenting and/or property arrangements.

While you are not legally obliged to formalise such an agreement, Consent Orders give peace of mind to both parties that it is binding. In turn, this reduces the risk of future conflict over its terms and conditions. As your family lawyer, we will provide expert support and guidance throughout the Consent Order application process, ensuring that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities.


How to apply for Consent Orders

The application process for Consent Orders generally involves three stages:


1. Negotiation


The first step is for both parties and/or their legal representatives to engage in discussions surrounding the agreement. This may involve some compromise and strategic considerations on both sides, and will always require an in-depth understanding of relevant legislation so that both parties know their entitlements and obligations.


2. Preparation


All necessary documentation will need to be drafted and signed correctly. Depending on the nature of your agreement, you may need to prepare additional documents, like an affidavit if you are in a de facto relationship, or approval from your superannuation fund if your Financial Order is to split superannuation.


3. Application


All required documents must be lodged in the Family Court for review and approval. Once satisfied that the agreement is just and equitable, the Judicial Officer will make the Order and its terms will be legally binding.


Receive tailored advice on Consent Orders


Consent Orders can have a significant and long-term impact on your financial or family arrangements. That’s why it is so important to receive proper legal advice that ensures you understand your rights and the arrangement terms completely before settling on an agreement.

At Affinitas Legal, our family lawyers offer support with all Consent Order matters. If you wish to receive tailored advice and guidance regarding your unique circumstances, please contact our dedicated team today for a consultation.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is a consent order?


A Consent Order is a documented agreement between two parties, which is filed in Court to formalise parenting or property arrangements.

A Parenting Order may set out details such as how decisions concerning the child are made, when, where and for how long each parent will spend time with the child and communication methods between family members. On the other hand, a Property Order may involve matters such as superannuation splits, spousal maintenance and transfer or sale of matrimonial property.


Why do I need a Consent Order?


There are several benefits to formalising an agreement with Consent Orders, including:

  • Orders are clear and final, reducing the risk of future disputes. Once made, both parties must agree before any arrangements can be amended.
  • Orders are legally binding, meaning both parties must abide by agreement terms or face enforcement and/or punishment by the Family Court.
  • Transfer of property is exempt from stamp duty if actioned under Consent Orders.


When can I file a Consent Order with the Family Court?


An Application for Consent Orders relating to parenting arrangements can be filed at any point after separation.

In contrast, there are time limits for filing Property Orders. You will need to file an Application for Consent Orders within 12 months of divorce, or two years of de-facto separation. If you wish to file beyond these time frames, you must seek Court permission first, which is not always approved.


How long do consent orders take to be approved?


Once your application has been filed in the Family Court, it typically takes between 4 to 8 weeks for your Consent Orders to be reviewed and made. However, you may apply for urgent processing in extenuating circumstances.


What happens if a consent order is breached?


When a party fails to abide by this legally binding agreement, the aggrieved party can file a contravention/enforcement application to the Court. If approved, the Judicial Officer may enforce adherence to its terms or penalise the breach.

If you feel like your ex partner has breached a Consent Order, we strongly recommend seeking legal advice before filing a contravention application to ensure it is the appropriate course of action for your circumstances.