Consent orders are commonly used in parenting matters, property settlement matters and for financial agreements. An important concept related to this is “minutes of consent orders.” This article will explore the its meaning, and also discuss when they are used.
Minutes of consent orders are an important prerequisite when making applications for consent orders in family courts. “Minutes” are essentially documents which consist of proposed orders which the parties wish the courts to make on their behalf. Generally, during contested court proceedings where the parties seek a procedural order, they can file minutes of consent orders.
Importantly, in cases where the parties do not wish to attend the court, and there are no ongoing court proceedings, but where the parties are still seeking consent orders – filing minutes of consent orders becomes necessary.
What Exactly Are Consent Orders?
These are orders made by family courts according to terms which are agreed by all involved parties. For instance, if two parties make parenting arrangements or plans – they can apply for these at the court to formalise these plans.
Once consent orders are approved by Family Cours they become legally binding. As mentioned above, it can also be applied for without actually attending a court. This is where minutes of consent orders become especially relevant.
Some issues for which these orders are commonly used are:
- If it’s a divorce case, issues around parenting such as child custody and who the child will reside with;
- How parental responsibility is to be worked out between two parties;
- How the child is to communicate with the non-resident parent, etc.
Essentially, a consent order simply reflects the agreement which two parties have come to. While it is not mandatory to apply for these when you have reached an agreement – it is certainly recommended that you do so.
This is because in cases where parties rely only on informal arrangements, there are high chances for conflicts to occur. By legalising the agreement, you can ensure that you and your former spouse will follow the orders properly.
Where there is a breach of these orders, it is highly advisable that you speak with a family lawyer who can help you out. Generally, a party files an Application for a Contravention Order in case of breach of application.
How To Apply For Consent Orders?
The process for making an application is straightforward. These applications need to be fixed within 12 months of a divorce, or 24 months of a de facto separation.
Broadly, the application includes some steps such as:
1 – Prepare the draft order and write clearly the details of the orders which you are seeking. This draft order needs to be signed and dated by each party.
2 – Complete the application for consent orders by electronically filing the application on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
3 – When you sign the draft order, all affidavits also need to be signed. These affidavits need to be finalised in the presence of a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public.
4 – File the consent order application at the Family Court Registry. Some filing charges may apply at this stage.
5 – If the Registrar at the court approves the application, the consent order will become a legally enforceable court order. Alternatively, if the Registrar thinks that the application is not up to the mark – they may send it back to you with comments about corrections/changes which need to be made to the application.
When Are Minutes Of Consent Orders Used?
Where parties seek consent orders, they have to first file minutes of consent orders. If these have been drafted properly, and has been signed by both parties and submitted on behalf of both parties, and has been drafted in a way which is legally binding – the courts will make consent orders according to the minutes of consent orders which had been filed.
- It needs to reflect that both parties have made the proposed orders by consent;
- The proposed orders need to be explicitly stated;
- The draft order has to be signed by both parties;
- The draft order will also need to be accompanied by extra copies of the order for. This is for:
- The court to have an additional copy
- Each party to have an extra copy – and each party will need to be certified by the lawyers of the application
As mentioned above, these orders are commonly used for property settlement, parenting matters, matters related to spousal maintenance, etc. For all these orders, having consent by both parties is important.
In parenting related matters where parties are unable to reach an agreement, they will need to apply for Parenting Orders at family courts. In this process, the courts will consider the facts of the case and make Parenting Orders based on the best interests of the child.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
To summarise, minutes of consent orders are documents which consist of proposed orders by both parties. If these draft orders satisfy all legal requirements, family courts will make consent orders in accordance with these draft orders. Importantly, the proposed orders need to be articulated accurately, and should be capable of legal enforcement.
Legal advice is necessary when drafting proposed orders. Lawyers can help you understand the legal requirements which you need to fulfil to make your proposed orders accurate. Moreover, mediation services can be used where a separated or divorced couple are unable to reach an agreement.
At JB Solicitors, our family lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with divorce and separation cases where matters related to parenting, property settlement, spousal support, or child support become especially heated.
We have the expertise in handling all complex legal matters. We do this with compassion and understanding. What makes our lawyers stand out is their passion and commitment to help the community. When you meet with one lawyer at JBS, you get all the solicitors working towards reaching your desired outcome.
Contact our family lawyers to discuss all matters related to consent orders today.