What happens when you reach an agreement?
- File Consent Orders with the Family Court of Australia – both parties reach an agreement and file that agreement with the Family Court; or
- Sign a Binding Financial Agreement – both parties need specific independent legal advice for the agreement to be binding; or
- Do nothing.
What are Consent Orders?
If you have reached an agreement and you want to formalise that agreement and make it binding, you can apply to the Family Court for Consent Orders. Consent Orders are used to formalise arrangements about:
- the care, welfare and development of your children (known as parenting orders);
- the division of property or maintenance for a spouse/de facto spouse or former spouse/de facto spouse (known as spouse maintenance).
Consent Orders can also be used if you are applying to vary or discharge existing Family Court orders.
Consent orders have the same legal effect as an order made after a Court hearing.
Please read the following information in relation to parenting and property and financial matters before you proceed. The Family Law Act 1975 requires the courts to regard the best interests of a child as the most important consideration when making parenting orders. You should also read financial cases principles that the court considers to settle financial disputes. The court has to be satisfied that the agreement is just and equitable and/or in the best interests of the child/ren before they can make a consent order.
Applications can be filed any time after separation but should to be filed within 12 months of a divorce or 2 years of the breakdown of a de facto relationship if parties wish to seek orders from the court.
If you are seeking orders for property settlement or maintenance and more than 12 months has lapsed since your divorce became final, you need to seek leave to file the application. Leave can be requested as one of the orders sought.
If your de facto relationship broke down more than two years before the date of filing your application, you will have to file by post or at a Family Law Registry. If you are seeking property settlement/maintenance orders, you must seek the Court’s permission to bring an application for property settlement/maintenance seeking leave for the application to be heard out of time.