If you have reached an agreement about parenting and/or financial arrangements and want to formalise the agreement to make it legal, you can apply to the Family Court of Australia for an Application for consent orders (“Family Court Consent Orders”).
You may be wondering when and how to do this – or why it is even necessary if matters between you and your ex are amicable.
There are plenty of reasons to document your agreement. Here are some good ones:
- You can save a significant amount of money
If you’re transferring property under your consent orders you will be able to save thousands in stamp duty. Family law transfers are considered exempt transfers in most states and territories.
Having consent orders in place also means that you do not have to go through the court process and can resolve your dispute without incurring the costs of lengthy court proceedings.
- For peace of mind
Applying for consent orders will enable you to keep a well-documented, binding and enforceable record of your agreement. Both parties can rest assured knowing that they will be legally protected.
- For certainty
Documenting your agreement by way of Family Court Consent Orders brings certainty. The court considers consent orders as your full and final agreement. One party cannot come back after a few years and ask for more super or money or another property. Reaching an agreement and choosing to keep the arrangement informal, on the other hand, will not be considered full and final and your former partner may be tempted to come back for “another bite of the cherry” and any assets you have accumulated in the intervening period could potentially form part of the assets available for division.
Family Court Consent Orders can be filed any time after separation but should to be filed within 12 months of a divorce or within two years of the end of a de facto relationship if parties wish to seek orders from the court. If you are filing beyond this time frame, you should read and consider section 44 of the Family Law Act 1975. You must consent to the Court making the proposed property and maintenance orders or agree to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement, and if not, you will need to seek permission from the Court to file the application ‘out of time’. This process is costly and your request to have the matter heard may be declined.
Even though Family Court Consent Orders are submitted to the Court, the process is administrative and you are not required to appear at Court.
We offer a quick and affordable way to legally document your agreement by consent orders through our online legal solution, Forward>>.
We can help you through the entire process or just part of it, depending on your particular needs and budget.
For more information about Forward>> or separation agreements generally, give us a call on (02) 6189 1748. Our lawyers can discuss your needs and goals with you and help you finalise your settlement agreements quickly and cost-effectively.