Consent orders can be tricky things to write and that is why people usually engage a solicitor to do it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write them yourself, but with low cost, fixed fee services now available, it is often worth having a solicitor do this for you, quickly and easily.
We sometimes have clients come to us with orders that have been rejected by the court, although they appeared to be legitimate looking orders. They had searched for ‘sample consent orders property settlement’ online, and found some piecemeal orders which looked legally sound, and put these together. Sample consent orders for a property settlement might include something like:
“That the wife shall pay to the husband the sum of $25,000.00 within thirty (30) days of the date of these Orders and simultaneously the husband shall do all acts and things and sign all such deeds, documents and instruments as may be necessary to transfer to the wife all his right, title and interest in the property located at 1 Smith Street, Brisbane in the State of Queensland.”
This appears to be a clear and technical sample consent order for property settlement, and without years of experience as a solicitor would easily seem appropriate to use. It simply says that the wife pay the husband $25,000.00, and he gives her the house.
What this order fails to cover is any number of possible issues, including:
- Where does the $25,000.00 come from?
- What if she doesn’t pay the husband the money?
- What if he doesn’t sign over the house?
- What if they don’t action everything within thirty days?
A court will find issue with sample consent orders for property settlement like this, being used, as they are ambiguous, and can lack finality as they do not provide ‘default orders’ to cover situations where the order is not fulfilled. For example, in this instance, it would usually be drafted that if the wife were unable to pay the cash sum of $25,000.00, that the house be sold so that this money can be paid to the husband from the sale proceeds.
This is not to say that a non-lawyer is incapable of drafting up these orders, and in fact there are many DIY kits available to purchase online which provide template orders for use. It can still be prudent and ultimately time and cost saving to simply engage a solicitor. If you have to pay a few separate filing fees at $160 each time, you may have already spent what it would have cost to have a solicitor do it in the first place.