FAMILY LAW ARTICLES
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WHAT IF MY FORMER PARTNER AND I CANNOT REACH AN AGREEMENT?
When a couple separates, it can be emotionally and/or financially stressful for those involved. This is without having to navigate finalising parenting and financial matters between themselves. Sometimes parties find it difficult dealing with family law matters, including when it comes to the preparation of Consent Orders.
Following a separation, if both parties reach agreement on parenting, financial or property arrangements, they can formalise those arrangements and make them legally binding by applying for consent Orders from the Family Court of Australia. Consent orders may also be used to either discharge or vary other existing family law orders.
The court must be satisfied that the agreement in place is just and equitable, and also in the “best interests” of any child/ren, before it may be formalised as a consent order.
It should be noted consent orders are different to financial agreements. Some primary differences include:
- Consent orders can only be used after the end of a relationship, whereas financial agreements may be entered into at any time.
- Consent orders may deal with parenting orders, whereas financial agreements may not.
- Unlike financial agreements, which are private contracts between parties, consent orders require the Family Court Registrar’s approval.
Financial agreements may also be overturned or disputed in certain circumstances. Following the filing of Consent Orders in relation to the care of children, the proposed terms are assessed to ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritised prior to the order being formalised.
Obtaining consent orders
The assistance of one of our legal professionals is advised when you prepare the preparation of the documentation, even though it is also possible to directly apply directly to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia. One of our experienced Sydney family lawyer has the relevant knowledge of the process but also the ability to impartially assess individual situations, which can be a difficult thing to do when emotions are involved. Without the direction of a legal professional, you run the risk of the court rejecting the application for consent orders, as well as potentially missing important aspects of the proposed parenting/property arrangements.
If parties want to seek financial / property orders from the court, there are a few rules in place. An application must be filed any time within 12 months of a divorce, or two years if the relationship was de facto. In the instance that an application is being filed beyond this time frame, the court’s consent must be provided and leave of the court sought in order to file the application.
In regard to the division of property, a legal adviser will ask the parties about the initial contributions made throughout the relationship, a list of the assets, liabilities and any other factors that may be relevant. By providing this information, one of our experienced family law lawyers can provide advice regarding what you may receive during a settlement, as well as clarify your overall financial position.
A decision on the division of property will be influenced by factors such as the financial (and non-financial) contributions made throughout the relationship, whether there are any children in the relationship, income disparity between the parties as well as other factors found in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
It is therefore advised to seek legal assistance once an agreement has been reached, to assist with the formalisation process of the agreement. One of our experienced Sydney lawyers can help you to prepare and file the documents in Court, which then become the orders with which both parties must comply regarding both children and/or property.