What does a ‘fair’ Consent Order look like?
If the court is satisfied that the proposed Orders are “just and equitable” in a property settlement proceeding, it can make Consent Orders. As a result, what is considered just and equitable will vary considerably depending on the circumstances of the individual case. If, for example, one party worked full-time throughout the relationship and the other party largely stayed at home with the children and otherwise worked part time, it is often a good starting point for a court to consider that each party’s contributions to the relationship were equal. It is often the case that a fair and equitable outcome indicates that both parties should share equally in the assets available for distribution if they are of a similar age and have a similar working capacity. For example, if one party requested Consent Orders that saw them take 70% of the pool and the other 30%, the court might not consider that to be a just and equitable outcome, and it may refuse to grant the Consent Orders.
A Family Court will typically issue a requisition notice if it feels the outcome proposed by the parties is not just and equitable, requiring the parties to file affidavits that address their respective efforts and needs during the relationship and what they expect for the future. The parties are then asked to explain why they believe the outcome proposed is just and equitable. The coat will then consider this new evidence when deciding whether or not to make the Orders.
The court does not simply rubber stamp any application that comes before it; it is obligated by law to determine whether the orders are just and equitable. In any event, the Family Court will never simply change what has been submitted to something it deems more ‘fair’ and the parties will always have the opportunity to present more evidence before the matter is finally decided.
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This information is general in nature and cannot be interpreted as legal advice. Legal advice can only be provided by a qualified legal practitioner.