The question of ‘how long do consent orders take?’ does not have a simple answer, applicable to every scenario. This is because consent orders arise in multiple instances, which can be compounded by your unique circumstances in determining how long consent orders take.
The purpose of this article is to provide some clarity on the various scenarios and circumstances which are applicable in determining the answer to the question ‘how long do consent orders take?’
What Are Consent Orders?
Before we dive into ‘How long do consent orders take?’ it would be helpful to first understand what they are. Consent orders are written agreements approved by a court. They cover matters such as parenting arrangements for children, financial arrangements such as property and spousal maintenance. Anyone concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child may apply for parenting orders.
The legal effect of consent orders is as if a judicial officer had made them after a court hearing. The court must be satisfied the orders you are seeking are in the child’s best interests.
See here for more on the best interests of the child – Parenting Cases – the best interests of the child page.
For a more detailed guide on how to file consent orders, see the following information:
Why Do You Need a Consent Order?
Legally, there is no requirement to have a consent order made following a separation.
In the scenario of separation, you are completely permitted to make an informal private agreement regarding the division of your assets and allocations of time each parent will spend with their children. Although this may seem entirely reasonable at face value, the agreement is unenforceable and does not protect any party legally.
Practically, this means that either parent, despite the agreement, can apply to the court for orders seeking an arrangement utterly different from what was previously agreed. Accordingly, since the prior agreement was informal, there is no legal document preventing the court from considering this application. A consent order is a legal document that will prevent either party from taking any further legal proceedings against the other in the future, except for a few limited circumstances.
What Do Consent Orders Include?
As Consent orders can be concerning both financial matters and matters about children and parenting, here are some examples of considerations that can be included in each respective category:
Financial orders may include:
- Who keeps the house
- Who keeps other assets such as cars, jewellery, furniture and so on
- How debts will be managed
- Any payouts from one person to the other. For instance, when one person purchases the other’s share of a house or an asset
- Details regarding superannuation regarding paying and receiving
Children’s orders may include:
- The parent who will have parental responsibility for the children
- Who the children will spend their time with and when
- The location and times for changeovers
- Agreements such as both parents not speaking negatively about the other parent around their children
- Whether the children may travel overseas
When Can I Apply?
Parties must be separated before an application for consent orders can be made. This does not mean physical separation, as the ‘separation’ may occur when both parties are still living under the same roof. However, this is only applicable if they no longer live together as husband and wife or as a de facto couple.
In relation to property issues, parties who were married have a maximum period of 12 months following their divorce order to apply for financial consent orders – however, this limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances upon application to the court. With de facto relationships, the application must be made within two years from the date of separation.
So How Long Do Consent Orders Take?
Under normal circumstances, one can expect an application to be approved and for orders to be issued within 4-6 weeks of submitting the application to the court.
The parties will be notified if the orders are granted the orders being issued. However, if a judicial officer has any queries or concerns, they will write to both parties to seek more information. At this stage, it would be highly recommended to seek independent legal advice.
You must understand the nature and effect of the consent orders you are seeking. Accordingly, seeking independent legal advice is crucial to understand the potential consequences of your proposed orders, even if you are set on completing an application without engaging a lawyer.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to note when asking the question of ‘how long do consent orders take?’ to understand that there is no simple black and white answer, and it will largely depend on the type of your matter and your unique circumstances.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about ‘how long do consent orders take?’ or any other family law matters, check out our blog section or have a read of some of our other informative articles linked below: