What is the Procedure & Steps involved to get Consent Orders

What are the Steps to follow to get Consent Orders from the Court 

The Application for Consent Orders Form

You are able to make an Application yourselves which asks the Family Court to issue Consent Orders in the same terms as the agreement you and your former partner / other parent have reached.

Neither party has to have a lawyer represent them unless they want to do so.  An Application for Consent Orders is a completely administrative process and you will not even be required to attend a Court hearing if you reach agreement before either party starts court proceedings.

There is an Application form to be completed but many say the most difficult part of the process is to draft the wording of the actual Consent Orders which must be set out in a different form to the Application form.

Consent Orders Examples and Templates

The Family Court has the correct format of the form in which you are to type the wording of your consent orders on their website, calling it the Proposed Orders Template. Lawyers and Judges sometimes refer to this form as the ‘Terms of Settlement’ or ‘Minutes of Consent’.

The actual procedure to get Consent Orders

We have prepared an easy to follow, step by step procedure you can use if you want to apply to the court yourself for Consent Orders to be issued.

After you have both agreed on the terms of the Orders you would like the Court to make, the usual procedure when you apply for Consent Orders is:

  • Once you have both reached agreement on all issues, the Application for Consent Orders can be prepared;
  • Two (2) different main documents must be prepared:
  • Possible Additional Documents required:
    • For Parenting Orders – you must also file a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence;
    • If Superannuation Split Orders – the signed Minutes of Consent must be sent to the Trustee of the Superannuation Fund and the letter in return confirming the Superannuation Fund will comply with the Superannuation Split Orders must be sent to the Court.
  • The Application for Consent Orders  and the Proposed Orders/Terms of Settlement, must be signed by both parties;
  • It is not mandatory to have independent legal advice before the Application is signed, however if a party has had independent legal advice, their legal adviser will also sign the Application;
  • The actual things you have agreed about (Terms of Settlement or Minutes of Consent) will become the Orders the Court will make and so they must be typed up and signed in the same way described for the Application;
  • You must file in the Court;
    • The original and two copies of the signed Application for Consent Orders;
    • The original and two copies of the signed Terms of Settlement
    • The filing fee of $170.00 (double check current fee here) for applications in all Territories & States except Western Australia and check here, if you are from Western Australia;
    • If applicable a copy of any Certificate of registration of de facto relationship;
    • Depending on the answers to any questions on the Application form, copies of any documents the Application states are required.
  • If the Court has any concerns or queries regarding the Application and the Orders you are seeking, the Registrar will issue a Notice (which sometimes looks like a letter) and ask you to address those concerns or queries within the time frame they say in the Notice. If you need more time you should write back within that specified time frame and explain why. If the Court does not get a response, they will dismiss your Application, which will mean you will have to start all over again, including paying the court filing fee again;
  • If the Court approves the Orders, they will seal the Consent Orders and the sealed copy will be available in your comcourts file for you to print to save a copy.

If we’ve agreed on Consent Orders do I still have to go to Court?

If you have agreed on the Consent Orders and court proceedings haven’t already been started with the matter having been given a court date, then it would be a very rare case where you would have to go to Court to appear before a Judge or Registrar.

When you apply for Consent Orders, it is very rare that you have to appear in Court. In almost every case, an Application for Consent Orders will be dealt with by the Court administratively without either party having to go to Court at all.

If the Family Court has any concerns or queries about whether they should make the Consent Orders you want, the Family Court will usually issue a Notice to the parties detailing those concerns or queries and asking both parties to reply.

You can obtain the Application for Consent Orders form from the Court’s website here for all States and Territories except Western Australia, or you can register to use the Commonwealth Court Portal – comcourts if you would like to complete your Consent Orders Application online. You can find the correct Application for Consent Orders here if you are from Western Australia.

Consent Orders – More Information

There are many advantages to documenting your parenting or property settlement (or both) agreement in Consent Orders. Why doing so may be good for you is explained in our information sheet What are the Benefits of Consent Orders.

It will be important to whether the Court is likely to make the Consent Orders you have agreed upon with your partner. Read more in the information sheet Will the Court make the Consent Orders we agree on.

The basics you need to know about Consent Orders is outlined in the information sheet What are Consent Orders.

People often want to save legal costs and do all or part of the Consent Orders process themselves without using a Lawyer. We have a separate Fact sheet giving information about self representing to do your own Consent Orders and still have them be binding.

You can apply for Consent Orders about issues such as Parenting, Property Settlement and Spousal Maintenance, however there are some issues about which the Court will not make Consent Orders. For more, read the information sheet When can you use Consent Orders.

You should also understand the different options for documenting your property settlement agreement. We discuss this in our information sheet Do I use Consent Order or a BFA to document Property Settlement.

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