Family Law Consent Orders
18th November 2015
By Lisa Wagner
Are you wanting to have Consent Orders made?
If your answer is ‘yes’ then keep reading because this article explains the necessary steps in a way that is easy to understand.
Family law processes can be difficult. Moving from negotiating about parenting and property matters to documenting a settlement is very important. The team at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are best placed to assist you in relation to negotiating, documenting and implementing your settlement.
It’s true that the most difficult part of resolving a family law matter is usually negotiating the terms of the agreement. In property matters this may involve detailed conditions about the sale of a house or the splitting of superannuation entitlements. In parenting matters it will involve provisions for where the children will live, how much time they will spend with their other parent and how days of special significance (e.g. birthdays and Christmas) will be spent.
After an agreement has been “struck” and before it is made binding on the parties there are various steps that take place. Most, but not all, family law agreements are documented in Consent Orders. Consent Orders embody the terms of the agreement that you strike with your former spouse or partner about the issues that arise for your family after a separation. So, what are the steps involved in this process? Let’s take a look…we are frequently asked this question and to make it easier we have set out for you the most common steps that take place:
- Drafting the Consent Orders and the accompanying Application for Consent Orders
This task is usually undertaken by the two family lawyers who have been employed by each of the parties. Typically one lawyer will prepare a first draft for input and comment by the other party and their lawyer. After all agreed edits and amendments are included the Application for Consent Orders and the Consent Orders are ready for the two parties to sign.
- Seeking all necessary prior approvals
The most obvious approval required is the approval of a trustee of a superannuation fund in circumstances where the parties have agreed to split one or both of the parties’ superannuation entitlements. When a superannuation split is part of your family law settlement, the lawyer acting on your behalf will write to the trustee of the relevant superannuation fund providing it with prior notice or procedural fairness of the proposed superannuation splitting orders that are being sought. Particular funds can have specific requirements that must be met in order for the split to be made. The Family Court requires evidence in any case involving a superannuation split, that the fund has been afforded prior notice and approves the Orders in the form that they have been drafted in.
- Signing the court settlement documents
Once the parties are satisfied with the documents and all prior approvals have been obtained the documents are ready to be signed. The parties take it in turns to sign one set of documents. It is not the same as a sale of a house where each party signs a separate contract which is subsequently exchanged.
- Lodging the Consent Orders in the Court
The original signed Application for Consent Order and the signed Consent Orders and a sufficient number of copies are then filed in the Family Court and the relevant filing fee is paid.
- The Consent Orders are made by the Court
After the Consent Orders are lodged in the Court they are referred to a Registrar for consideration. The Registrar is required to be satisfied that the Orders are just and equitable and otherwise proper in the case of a property settlement or in the best interests of the children in parenting matters. The details that are included in the Application for Consent Orders and any recitals that are included in the Consent Orders themself assist the Registrar with this task. Once the Court is satisfied that the Orders are appropriate they are signed and dated by the Registrar and the Court’s seal is affixed to the document. The sealed Orders are then returned to each party or, if they have lawyers, the party’s legal representative. This process can take as little as a few business days to as long as three to four weeks in some cases, depending on the resources that the Court has available to it at any one particular time.
- Implementing the Consent Orders
The obligations that are then outlined in the sealed Consent Orders must be followed. This may involve the refinance of an investment property, the sale of a home, or the split of superannuation entitlements. Your family lawyer can assist you with this part of your family law settlement to ensure that all necessary steps are finalised.
Our team of highly regarded family lawyers and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers can help you with all your family law needs. So call us on 9437 0010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s North Shore.
These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.