Consent Orders document the agreements reached between two parties who have separated and/or divorced regarding the division of property, spousal maintenance and parenting arrangements for the children. A family law firm will very likely have been involved in the process, although some couples can reach agreement on their own or through counselling and mediation services.
If a former couple have reached such an agreement and decided to leave it as an informal arrangement with no Consent Orders, there is the risk that one will not keep to the agreement, changing it to suit themselves in the future. The other party will have no legal recourse to ensure that the agreement is kept. That is why it is in everyone’s best interests to have the agreement legally verified with Consent Orders.
When an agreement is documented in Consent Orders it becomes a legally binding and enforceable agreement that cannot be changed unless both parties agree to it in a court. A property settlement agreement is also binding if it is documented in a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA). However, parenting agreements can only be documented in Consent Orders.
To do this you have to apply for Consent Orders and have the court approve the agreement you have reached with your ex-partner or ex-spouse. The court will only agree to them if it decides the agreement is fair and equitable for the property division and in the best interests of the child, for the parenting arrangements.
Once the court has approved the agreement, the document will be sealed and sealed copies delivered to both of the parties involved. These Consent Orders will carry just as much weight and importance legally as any decision made by a court after a trial with witnesses. Just because you have reached an agreement without this happening doesn’t mean it is any less important.
Even though you have to pay for Consent Orders, going to trial to have a decision made is much more costly and time consuming, so it is in everyone’s best interests to reach an amicable agreement together or through mediation.
To apply for Consent Orders it is necessary to prepare two documents; one is the application for Consent Orders and the other contains the details of the agreement. These are known as Minutes of Consent. This can be done yourself, but it is far easier to have your family lawyers draw it up as they know exactly how to word everything.
Both parties must sign the agreement and if you have taken legal advice, the lawyer or advisor must also sign it. Once this is done and the document forwarded, it won’t be long before you can expect it all to be legally documented and agreed upon.