A consent order kit is an online document that a person can use for parenting and property arrangements. This document is accessible in the Federal Circuit and Family Court Of Australia (FCFCOA). Importantly, a consent order kit won’t provide you with several templates that will magically meet your parenting arrangements or property settlements.
Each of these must be drafted meticulously and tailored to specific situations in accordance with the Family Law Act 1975. The court will disapprove of a poorly drafted consent order kit. Additionally, the parties involved will each receive a notification of the order’s return. Want to know if a consent order kit is legally binding? This article will explain a consent order kit in further detail.
Cons Of A Consent Order Kit
A consent order kit is used to easily draft a court order. People who have gone through a divorce can use these kits to draft arrangements regarding property and children. A consent order kit provides forms, templates, worksheets, and checklists with all the latest court procedures at a low cost.
However, these low costs pose a great risk. Separated couples generally have a lack of understanding of how family law works. This results in them opting for a consent order kit to settle their issues regarding property and children. Contrary to popular belief, the laws governing family law are not self-explanatory.
Without having a clear understanding of how family law works, drafting a do-it-yourself (DIY) consent order might be difficult. Another point that needs addressing is the parties’ knowledge about the effect of an order.
Successfully drafting a consent order kit with a solicitor can help you achieve a desirable solution to the issue. More often than not, people without experience in preparing legal documents will include irrelevant information in a consent order kit. Rather, people should focus on important and crucial facts relevant to their matter.
What Are Consent Orders?
A consent order formalises an agreement between separated couples about parenting and property matters. If you and the other parent agree on parenting issues, you can create a parenting plan.
A parenting plan is a less formalised version of arrangements for your children. Moreover, it doesn’t require a standard format and it isn’t submitted in court. You can create a parenting plan on your own or with the aid of a counsellor or a solicitor.
However, to make a parenting plan legally binding, the parties will need to make an application to the Court. When you submit your parenting agreement for approval, the Court makes consent orders.
Consent orders formalise and legalise the existing parenting plans. Breaching a consent order is a punishable offence.
In some instances, grandparents and other relatives can also make consent orders about children who are related to them. If you are not a parent or relative of a child you will require legal assistance for the procedures you have to follow.
On the other hand, parenting orders can be used if ex-partners don’t agree on parenting arrangements. In such situations, the Courts will make parenting orders based on the child’s best interests. A parenting order deals with a range of matters including but not limited to:
- Who the child will live with;
- How much time the child will spend with each parent;
- Whether one or both parents should have parental responsibility for the children;
- How the child will communicate with parents or other people they do not live with;
- Any other aspect of care, welfare, and the child’s development.
Much like parenting orders, the Courts can make Property or Financial orders related to property settlement. These orders are also legally binding. Property can include a range of items, including but not limited to:
- Independently or jointly owned property
- Business interests;
- Trust interests;
- Cars and other vehicles;
- Inheritance assets;
- Debts and loans.
Three Easy Steps To Obtain Consent Orders
1. Reaching agreements
Firstly, negotiations with the other party can be done to reach an agreement. Attorneys and parties can negotiate agreements.
2. Preparing documents
Secondly, the court requires the preparation of necessary documents. The first document is the application for consent orders which sets out the details of each party. The details include the children, statement of assets, and liabilities for each party.
The draft consent orders, also known as minutes of consent orders, must be attached to the application. Minutes of consent orders is a document that details the agreement made and how the parties intend to carry it out.
3. Lodging the application
Finally, we can proceed with lodging the application with supporting documents to the court.
Are Consent Orders Legally Binding?
Consent orders are legally binding when the Family Court of Australia approves them. Furthermore, these orders have a similar legal effect as an order made after a court hearing in the form of a Parenting Order or Property Order. In summary, a consent order can formalise the following agreements:
- Property and financial matters
- Parenting arrangements
- Spousal maintenance
Once the family court approves consent orders, these will be made legally enforceable for separated couples. Couples can make an application for consent orders at any time after separation. However, the application must be filed within 12 months of a divorce.
On the other hand, de facto couples must file within two years of their separation. The Family Court can grant leave to couples who ran out of time for consent order applications. Violating a consent order poses serious consequences unless the Court finds a reasonable excuse. Penalties may include:
- Paying for any expenses incurred because of the contravention;
- Paying a portion or the entirety of the party’s legal costs;
- Community service;
- A jail term of up to 12 months for more serious violations
What If My Consent Order Kit Is Rejected?
Receiving a rejected consent order can be stressful for an applicant. They might tend to ask themselves what went wrong or if it was drafted incorrectly. A solicitor can help you in redrafting your consent order to make it legally binding. Correctly drafted consent orders can help couples reach agreements faster.
Drafting A Consent Order JB Solicitors
As mentioned, consent order kits pose a lot of risks to disputed couples. Additionally, disputed couples think the easy way out is to opt for these kits to avoid costly legal fees. Unfortunately, most law firms charge by the hour for their legal services. However, our fixed fees at JB Solicitors may end up saving couples significant time and stress.
There are also cost-effective ways to resolve a separated couple’s dispute. Our seasoned family lawyers offer mediation services to ensure a peaceful agreement between couples. With mediation, it will be easier to draft consent orders. Having an initial agreement can help draft more simple and legally binding consent orders.
Contact JB Solicitors today