Consent orders

Commonly asked questions about consent orders

No. You can file an application for consent orders at a family law registry, or electronically on the Commonwealth Courts portal. Currently the fee is $160.

The court will not automatically make the consent orders you have agreed upon. Seeking legal advice can help you to ensure that you have given due consideration to all of the relevant issues, and that nothing has been missed. A lawyer will assist you to make an agreement that is fair and just, and advise you about the court’s likely response, particularly regarding the best interests of children.

It means that the agreement you have made is binding and legally enforceable. It means that there can be no misunderstanding in the future, or areas for dispute if one person changes their mind. If your former spouse or partner breaches a consent order, there will be a penalty, the nature of which will depend on whether the breach was minor or major. For example, for serious breaches the court could order them to pay a fine, or legal costs, or to compensate you. It could even result in a prison sentence.

An application for consent orders in relation to a property or financial settlement must be filed within 12 months of a divorce, or within two years of a de facto relationship breaking down.

If there are any concerns about your application, then the Registrar will issue a notice asking you to address the concerns within a specified time frame. Failing to respond to the notice will mean that your application is dismissed.

A parenting plan is an informal agreement between two parties about matters affecting children of the relationship, such as where they live and the responsibilities of each parent. Unlike consent orders, parenting plans are not binding or legally enforceable. Obtaining consent orders formalises the agreement and makes it legally enforceable.

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