Do we need to disclose all our property or just the things we are splitting?
The obligation on clients when drafting consent orders is that we have full financial disclosure. This means that we disclose all assets and all liabilities at their current market prices. We do not need to supply any supporting documentation to the value of those assets or liabilities; however, you will sign a statement of truth swearing to the court that the value of all assets and liabilities is correct to the best of your knowledge.
Do you have to split your superannuation?
You do not have to split your superannuation benefits between the two of you. You can use other assets to offset the value of the superannuation onto the value of another asset. The value of your superannuation, however, it will be included in the overall percentage of the consent order agreement.
Do we each need a lawyer?
You don’t need individual lawyers for the consent order process. We can assist both parties in drafting their agreement; however, we do not represent either party. Each party is entitled to obtain their own independent legal advice; however, we will not provide that advice to either of the parties.
Consent orders do not require independent legal advice for approval in the family court.
I am in Melbourne can you still help us?
Yes we can assist clients all over Australia because family law is a federal jurisdiction, and the same rules apply no matter where you live in Australia. There are, however, some small variations for clients who live in WA or predominately have assets in WA. If you think that this affects you, we will discuss your best options moving forward.
Since there has been an amalgamation between the family court and the Federal Circuit court in September 2022, your matter could be heard in any registry anywhere in Australia. The fact that we are based in Brisbane is of no relevance as we no longer see clients face-to-face.
How do I know if our agreement is “just and equitable”?
While we do not provide independent legal advice as to the Family Court’s view on your consent orders, we will, however only accept matters that we believe will be accepted on the basis of being just and equitable. Since consent orders are reviewed by registrars in the family court, and there are over 50 of them in Australia, different registrars will take different views on the same point. As such, nobody can guarantee that the family court will accept your agreement in the first instance.
If a registrar has any issues with your agreement, they will right back to us seeking additional information via a requisition. There may well be very good reasons why your agreement is structured the way it is and could create a situation where your matter is requisitioned. We will attempt to answer that question in anticipation via the notations within the orders. We will discuss this issue with you if it becomes an issue moving forward.
Can the Court change our Consent Orders?
No, the family court has no jurisdiction to change your agreement. When we present consent orders for their consideration, they only have two options. Firstly, to accept the terms that we have submitted or secondly, to requisition the matter seeking additional information. In our experience, we have never submitted consent orders that have been rejected in the first instance.
How long does the Consent Order take?
There are several parts to this question.
Firstly, how long do we take to draft your agreement?
Kate Austin Family Lawyers will generally take 24 hours to draft your agreement once we have all of your intake forms completed. Any changes you require will be made within an additional 24 hours. Once you are happy with your agreement, we will send you a final version for electronic signatures. Once both parties have signed the application and the minute of order, they will be returned to us automatically, and we will submit them to the family court.
How long will the family court take to approve your consent orders?
This depends on the time of year and which registry you are allocated. Since there has been an amalgamation between the Federal Circuit Court and the family court, we have generally seen times fall for the approval of consent orders. If you are presenting your consent orders towards the end of the year heading into Christmas, we generally expect a longer wait time. We think this is because there is a higher volume of consent orders being submitted. If you submit your consent orders early in the school term, we generally see the approval time fall. Internally we run a metric on the number of days it takes for a set of consent orders to be approved. We calculate this over the last 30 matters. This considers what time of the year it is, regardless of the registry.
We have seen this number as high as 68 working days in September 2022 and as low as 8.5 days in February 2023. When we commence your matter, we will tell you what that current number is.