Can I apply for Consent Orders before I get divorced?
You certainly can make an application for divorce prior to finalising your property settlement or making arrangements for your children. However you cannot apply for divorce until you have been separated for a minimum of 12 months.
For practical reasons, most people need to sort out their property settlement or their care arrangements for their children well within this timeframe. And typically the divorce is left until the last thing.
If you change your mind, can you change your Consent Orders?
It’s very difficult to have Consent Orders changed once they are made unless you are able to obtain the other party’s consent in which case it is a fairly straightforward process.
The court will only enable you to re-open a property settlement case in very limited circumstances that are provided for in the legislation and which relate to things such as fraud or lack of disclosure or changes to the care arrangements for children.
How are Consent Orders applied for in the Family Court?
The court requires you to file two documents which are an application for Consent Orders and a minute of Order. The application for Consent Orders sets out a lot of background and historical information as well as your current assets and liabilities.
It doesn’t set out who will retain what. The minute of order must set out precisely the Orders that you are asking the court to make on your behalf. The court will not draft Consent Orders for you and it is for this reason that most people have a family law a solicitor draft the documents on their behalf.
The application for Consent Orders sets out a lot of background and historical information as well as your current assets and liabilities. It then sets out who will retain what in a column format. The minute of order must set out precisely the Orders that you are asking the court to make on your behalf.
What is the principle of a Consent Order?
Essentially a Consent Order works the same way as any Court Order. If properly drafted, it sets out precisely the obligations that are imposed on each party in relation to the finalisation of the property settlement for the future care arrangements for the children.
They require careful drafting because if one party does not comply with the Consent Orders, the non-defaulting party needs to be able to apply back to the court and ask for the Consent Order to be enforced.