If you have reached an amicable agreement as to the property/financial settlement, parenting arrangements and/or spousal maintenance, an application for consent orders is generally the most efficient and cost-effective means of formalising your agreement.
Consent orders differ to a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) in that the Family Court has an overriding duty in determining the application to ensure that the financial effect of the orders is just and equitable. In other words, proposed consent orders must deemed by the Family Court to be fair between the parties in their circumstances.
Advantages of consent orders:
- Avoid costly and time consuming Family Court proceedings.
- No requirement for parties to obtain independent legal advice.
- Consent orders are approved and granted by the Family Court, providing a high-level of certainty and the option of enforcing the agreement in the Court.
- Consent orders can include parenting matters.
- In most cases, consent orders are final and can only be varied in limited circumstances.
Disadvantages of consent orders:
- Parties must make full financial disclosure, assets cannot be excluded from your application.
- The Court must assess the parties’ proposed orders to be just and equitable – parties cannot enter into an agreement more or less advantageous than what the court would determine as a fair outcome.
- You may only apply for consent orders following separation.
- There are time limits for applying for consent orders for both married and de facto couples.