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What are Consent Orders?

A consent order is a great way for separating couples to formalise their agreement with the Family Court for the division of their assets or the future care of their children, without having to go to court.

Consent Orders are documents that detail how your assets and liabilities will be divided in a property settlement. So, let’s say one party wants to buy the other person’s interest in their house. The agreement details how that will happen, the refinancing of the mortgage and the payment to be made to the other party. Consent Orders describe the living arrangements for the child or children in relation to parenting. They may live week-to-week with both parents, or they may be mainly cared for by one and see the other during the week and on weekends. Many other details are set out in the Agreement as well.

A court’s Orders made in accordance with your agreement become legally binding as if a court had made them after a contested hearing. In other words, they are just as valid. Your Consent Orders do not need to be made in court. The Court will make Orders in the same format that you have submitted your agreement to the court, provided that you submit your agreement in a manner that the Court accepts.

Consent Orders can also be used to close bank accounts, split superannuation, or divide family trusts and transfer shares of companies. The idea is to include everything that is owned and owed, so that nothing gets disputed down the road. Parenting Consent Orders address everything from where a child or children will live, how much time each parent will spend with the child during holidays and special occasions including Christmas and birthdays, through to overseas travel and where they will attend school.

A consent order formalizes what you’ve agreed to informally, and gives peace of mind and clarity to both parties so they can move forward with their lives.

Do Consent Orders deal with financial matters? If not, can they?

From transferring a property from two joint names to one name to setting up a superannuation split, consent orders can deal with all kinds of financial matters. Bank accounts can be closed, or balances transferred from one party to another, with Consent Orders. The parties can use Consent Orders to require a payment to be made within a set timeframe, or to have motor vehicles transferred from one party’s name to the other’s. Consent Orders can also deal with more complex matters like the transfer or dissolution of family trusts, the transfer of companies and/or their assets, etc. The parties’ assets and liabilities can be divided through (financial) Consent Orders in essence. The parties may also seek consent orders that bind companies or trusts owned or operated by them and can require the parties to act or not act on their behalf. Assets can even come out of a trust or company and go to an individual.

In contrast, Financial Consent Orders cannot be used to deal with matters involving child support. Similarly, if you would like an agreement regarding the payment of child support for a child or children of the relationship that cannot be dealt with in your Consent Orders, you may do so. It is generally the child support agency who is responsible for handling matters related to child support. The parties can also make their own private and formalised child support agreement if they choose to do so however this is a separate document, known as a Binding Child Support Agreement, and again, this is different to consent orders made by the court in a property settlement process.

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