We have an agreement – but I don’t want to go to Court
So, you have separated from your spouse or de-facto partner and are discussing, what next? Maybe you have an agreement already or you have an agreement in mind. Is there a way that you can document and formalise this agreement through the Family Court? The answer is yes: Consent Orders.
Consent Orders allow you to take your agreement and make it an Order of the Court without you having to go through the, often length and expensive, Family Court process. Consent Orders exist for parenting and property matters.
What are the steps involved?
Firstly, both parties, for example you and your ex-partner, must agree on the Orders you would like on a final basis. If discussing property matters, perhaps you agree on a division of assets that provide for a cash payment in exchange for specific assets or for you to refinance joint property into your sole name. There are many different varieties of Orders that the Court is willing to consider.
In parenting matters, perhaps you have an agreement in mind relating to the ongoing care and welfare of your children and think it best to have legally enforceable orders to ensure both parents remain loyal to the agreement.
Then, the following documents are required to be drafted by either yourself of a lawyer on your behalf;
- Application for Consent Orders (Form 11) –
This document sets out all the details of your relationship, separation, children, and property.
In a property matter, this document outlines all the assets and liabilities held by parties, and what the proposed division of these assets would look like. In parenting matters, this document asks questions in relation to the children and their ongoing care arrangement.
- Minute of Consent Orders –
This document outlines the Orders that you are requesting the Court make legally binding.
Examples of these documents can be found on the Family Court of WA websites. Reviewing these documents is often helpful in assisting a person’s understanding of what exactly is required by two people wanting to formalise their agreement. In some cases, additional documentation may be required however this is completely dependent on the parties’ circumstances and the circumstances of the matter.
These documents must then be filed with the Family Court who will schedule a time to review the agreement and ensure they are satisfied it is fair to all parties before making Orders.
Benefits of Consent Orders: Why is it a good idea to formalise your agreement?
There is a number of reasons why Consent Orders are beneficial in property and parenting matters.
In property matters, Consent Orders gives you finality and certainty of the agreement between you and your ex-partner. This means that it will be harder for your ex-partner to make a claim on any of your property in future as you are somewhat protected by your Final Orders. Further, you can also avoid stamp duty costs in the event you are attempting to transfer a house or vehicle from one person to another.
In parenting matters, if you have Consent Orders and a parent does not comply with an Order without reasonable explanation, the Court may apply penalties for breach of the Order. The penalty for breach of these Orders can range from compensating loss time to more serious penalties. Regardless, having Consent Orders in parenting matters ensures an agreement is taken seriously by both parents.
Consent Orders are final and can only be changed by an Order of the Court.
What does it cost?
The filing fee for an Application for Consent Orders changes yearly however the current rate is $170. If you have a concession card you may be granted an exemption of this fee.
In terms of our fees, we charge a capped fee for all steps involved with the preparation and filing of Consent Orders. All of the fees are available on our website.
A capped fee means, in the event we do not spend up to stipulated amount, we will return the remaining funds to you.
If you have any questions in relation to this article, please do not hesitate in contacting our offices.
If you have read this article and think it may be something that suits you, here at Joss Legal we charge a $99 fixed fee for an initial consultation. In this consultation we meet to discuss your personal situation and provide you with the legal advice to help you determine what best would work for you.
Every family law matter is different and we here at Joss Legal understand it can be daunting and hard to comprehend the steps even in the simplest of matters so call us today to arrange a time to speak with one of our experienced solicitors.