FAQs

Consent orders

Consent orders are a written agreement that is approved by a court. The orders can cover agreements about property and parenting arrangements

Consent orders have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a judicial officer after a court hearing.

The Court’s power to make consent orders is discretionary. You must satisfy the Court that the agreement you and your former partner propose is fair and equitable.

If you are seeking parenting orders, you must satisfy the Court that adequate arrangements are in place for the care and support of the children.

If you were a de facto couple, you must also satisfy the Family Court that:

  • one of the parties is residing in Western Australia and did so for at least one third of the relationship; and
  • the relationship was of at least two years duration; or
  • you have made significant contributions to the relationship and failure to make the orders would result in serious injustice; or
  • you have a child of the relationship under age 18 years old and failure to make the orders would result in serious injustice to the party caring for the child.

You can apply for consent orders once you and your partner have separated. You do not need to be divorced to apply. Learn more about separation – visit Family law myths, busted.

Your partner is entitled to obtain independent legal advice, however this is not required. Nevertheless, your partner must be willing to sign the application and they may need to give written confirmation to the Court that they understand their entitlement to legal advice and have chosen not to seek it.

The Court provides an application form which requires background information about the parties and their financial circumstances. We will attach a document, known as a minute of consent orders, that sets out the terms of your agreement. Once signed by both parties, the application is lodged at the Court.

If the Court is satisfied the application is properly prepared and the agreement is just and equitable, they will make the orders without either party needing to appear in Court.

Our advertised fees are for straightforward applications. They do not include the Family Court filing fee or disbursements such as certificate of title searches which we charge at cost.

If your application is complex we will give you a quote for our services. For full terms see our Product Disclosure Statement.

Binding Financial Agreements

You can enter into a BFA at any time – before or during a relationship or after separation, whether you are married or in a de facto relationship. The agreement itself only takes effect if you and your partner separate – you may well never use it!

We only act in matters with BFAs made after separation.

If your agreement won’t be seen by the Court as fair, it may be best to draw it up as a Binding Financial Agreement. 

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of BFAs here.

This depends on when you enter into the BFA.

BFA’s signed before or during a relationship typically specify how assets and liabilities will be divided if you and your partner separate.

BFA’s signed after separation tend to be quite specific and set out a series of agreed transactions that lead to financial separation.

Each party must declare their assets and liabilities to each other before the BFA is made. We recommend that the BFA include a comprehensive list of the current assets, liabilities and financial resources (whether in your name, your partner’s name, a family trust name, or a company or business name) of both parties.

The agreement cannot cover parenting matters.

Your partner must obtain independent legal advice before signing the BFA for the BFA to be binding. We can recommend lawyers who can assist.

Our advertised fees are for straightforward BFAs.

They do not include agreements involving large asset pools, complex transactions, complex financial affairs or superannuation splitting.

If your agreement is complex we will give you a quote for our services. For full terms see our Product Disclosure Statement.

Divorce

Divorce, according to Australian law, means simply the dissolution of marriage.

Divorce does not cover other issues that may arise upon separation including:

These other matters are often resolved before you divorce. However, apart from making proper arrangements for your children, you don’t have to resolve them in order to obtain a divorce.

There is no legal requirement to divorce. You may remain separated but still legally married indefinitely– that is, until one partner dies or applies for a divorce. However, you must divorce before you can marry again.

You can make a sole application for divorce and serve the documents on your spouse. Your spouse will have the opportunity to object to the application. If the application is properly prepared and served and there is no objection, the Court will grant the divorce without the consent of your spouse.

The Family Court will generally require you to file a certificate to confirm you have had marriage counselling. Otherwise the application proceeds as usual.

As a general rule, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 12 months before you can apply for divorce. Learn more about separation – see Family law myths, busted.

You may be separated and still living under the same roof as a spouse, although the Court will require detailed evidence of these arrangements.

You may resume your relationship once for up to three months during the separation period but you must still have been separated for 12 months in total before you can apply.

You will need to satisfy the Court that proper arrangements have been made for all children who were treated by you and your spouse as a child of your family at the separation date and who are under 18. Your application should include details of those arrangements – such as housing, education, supervision and health.

You may apply for a divorce without a lawyer. You will need time to go to the Family Court and prepare the documents. Many people find it more convenient to have a lawyer do the work.

Our advertised fees are for straightforward applications. They do not include the Family Court of Western Australia filing fee. If your application is complex or if you require additional legal advice or assistance we will give you a quote for our services. For full terms see our Product Disclosure Statement.