There are two main ways to obtain Court Orders; by litigation, or by consent. The latter is by far the least stressful, the least expensive and takes the least time.
If you are able to reach agreement with your ex-partner about the arrangements for your children, or the division of property (including spousal maintenance), or both, you may formalise that arrangement by way of an application for consent orders. The conclusion of that process is in some ways similar to the outcome of a trial, in that you will have Court orders that deal with your family law matter, and with a view to finality. The difference is that after a trial, a Judge decides on the orders, with a consent agreement, you decided on the orders. Also, the consent order application process can take weeks, Family Court proceedings can takes years.
Ordinarily, the Family Court will attend to the consent order application process ‘on the papers’, and usually neither the parties, nor their lawyers, have to attend Court.
If after separation you are unable to reach agreement on property or parenting matters, is may be useful to attend mediation. In general terms, mediation is a successful process that more often than not achieves sensible outcomes.
Whilst you may have ‘struck a deal’ with your ex-partner, it is highly recommended that legal advice is sought before that arrangement is agreed.
Occasionally, people consider ‘not telling all’ about their income or assets when settling a family law matter.
Both parties have a duty of full and frank disclosure, and failure to provide disclosure (or hide assets) may open up the opportunity for the other party to ‘revisit’ any orders made at a later date.
Sometimes, a forensic accountant is engaged when a party becomes suspicious, and that is likely to reveal all assets. If that were to happen after consent orders have been made, the Court has the power to set aside orders can be set aside, and the party at fault may be required to pay the other party’s legal costs. All parties should approach the consent application process with ‘clean hands’.
There are two main areas where consent orders are regularly used:
- financial / property matters;
- parenting / children’s matters.
Of course, the above is merely an overview and not intended to be advice. Family law is not an uncomplicated process.
The West Family Lawyers team is experienced in this area. Knowledge of the law and the Court processes will create efficiency, and effectiveness, when preparing / drafting a consent order application.
At West Family Lawyers we offer assistance in this process, and are only a phone call away.
Call +61 8 9380 9111 if you would like our help.