You have done the hard yards and reached a parenting agreement or property agreement with your ex-partner. Now what? It’s crucial that you document your agreement in a legally enforceable way. One way to do that is to complete an Application for Consent Orders. Here is a straightforward explanation of what they are.

If you’ve separated from your ex-partner and want a cost-effective way to settle financial and parenting matters without going to Court, a Consent Order could be the solution. These orders are made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia with the agreement of both you and your ex-partner, and they carry the same legal weight as orders obtained through lengthy Court battles.

consent orders

To apply for Consent Orders, you need three documents:


  1. Application Form: This outlines the current financial situation/parenting arrangement and provides necessary information for the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to assess if the proposed agreement is fair in property settlements or a child’s best interest.
  2. Proposed Orders: These are the specific orders reflecting the agreement between the parties, asking the Court to approve them.
  3. Notices: In cases involving parenting consent orders, this includes information about child abuse, family violence, or risk.



Advantages of Consent Orders:


  • They can address both financial and parenting matters simultaneously or separately.
  • Legal representation for both parties is not mandatory, making them cost-effective.
  • Once made, property orders are challenging to set aside under the Family Law Act without mutual agreement.
  • A parent can only apply to have parenting orders set aside under specific grounds or with the agreement of both parents.


Property Consent Orders should consider these key factors:

  • The assets and debts available at the date of agreement to distribute between each person;
  • The assets and debts each person had at the beginning of the relationship;
  • How assets were paid for during the relationship, including direct and indirect financial contributions;
  • Whether either person received any inheritances or financial windfalls;
  • The future needs of each person.



You can find more information about how the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia decides property settlements here.


Parenting Consent Orders should consider these key factors:

  • The history of parenting arrangements;
  • Any risks or incidents related to family violence or a parent’s behaviour;
  • The benefit of the children having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • How parental responsibility will be shared between the parents;
  • The children’s accommodation, health, education, financial support;
  • The time the children will spend with each parent;
  • Arrangements for school holidays and special days (such as birthdays, Christmas and Easter);
  • How parents will communicate about ongoing parenting arrangements.


You can learn more about how a Court decides a parenting dispute here.


Do I need Legal Advice?

We recommend you obtain legal advice specific to your circumstances before you file Consent Orders with the Court. Obtaining legal advice before you file your Application for Consent Orders will ensure you are fully informed about your entitlements and whether your proposed agreement is within the range of how a Court would have decided your matter. Once the Court approves your Orders you are responsible for implementing them. This might include transferring property or complying with parenting arrangements. Having a family lawyer review your draft Terms of Settlement can give you peace of mind that the draft Orders correctly reflect the terms of your agreement.


Learn more about our fixed fee process for Consent Orders here.


Is there a time limit to lodge Consent Orders?

Yes, time limits do apply for filing an Application for Consent Orders for property matters. For married couples, the Consent Orders must be filed within 12 months from the date of the Divorce Order. For de facto couples, the Consent Orders must be filed within 2 years from the date of final separation.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia can make Consent Orders regarding parenting arrangements for children under 18.


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