Withstand Lawyers will answer your questions about Family Law, whether it be on consent orders, divorce or spousal maintenance. Withstand Lawyers is your go-to law firm in Sydney if you want top-notch family lawyers who have your best interest in mind.

Consent orders are issued by the Family Court to parties who lodged an application for the issuance of the same. A prerequisite to its issuance is that the parties to a parenting or financial/property agreement have finally come to an agreement about parenting or their property.

In settling financial disputes the court relies on doctrinal case principles. On the other hand, the court considers the best interests of a child to be primordial for the issuance of parenting orders, pursuant to the Family Law Act. Consent orders may be utilized to change or carry out subsisting family law orders.

Basically, if the court finds the agreement to be unjust and unequitable and/or when it does not advance the best interests of the child, the application for a consent order will not be granted.

In applying for a consent order, there are time restrictions emplaced in the Family Law Act within which the privilege may be exercised.

Under s44 of the FLA, an application for a consent order can be submitted anytime after separation but not outside 12 months following a divorce or 2 years after the breakdown of a de facto relationship.

S44(3) of the Family Law Act is important especially when one seeks orders for maintenance or property settlement and the 12 month period has elapsed from the finality of a divorce order. S44(3) may be applied and if so, consent must be given to the Court making the proposed maintenance and property orders. After the period given and the application is not made, a party cannot file an application without seeking leave of court.

But what if a de facto relationship breakdown occurred more than two (2) years prior to the filing date of the application? In this instance, applying for consent orders is not the proper mode, but by way of an Application in a Case together with an Affidavit (which seeks the permission of the Court to submit an application for property settlement and/or maintenance), a consent order may still be issued.

Applications for Consent Orders can be filed electronically (efile) via the Commonwealth Courts Portal. Information on the registration process as well as how to electronically file an application can be conveniently found in the portal itself. Portal related questions, on the other hand, may be asked via their email or Live Chat. Otherwise, applicable forms are accomplished and filed at any family law registry.

Basically, the forms that must be accomplished are:

  • The Application for Consent Orders
  • The Proforma Application for Consent Orders
  • The Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Orders
  • The Superannuation Information Kit

It is best to ask your family lawyer to help you accomplish the forms required any time you feel unsure about any information called for.

As for jurisdiction, the Family Court of Australia exercises sole jurisdiction over applications for consent orders, and the fee is $160, unless exempted, in which case, an applicant does not pay anything. Moreover, the fees for Applications for Consent Orders are prescribed by Government regulations.

Is $160 too much for you? Perhaps you are eligible to apply for an exemption in paying court fees. However, any person who misrepresents his circumstances in order to benefit from the Commonwealth can be fined or imprisoned if found guilty of making an untrue statement.

Some of the tests for eligibility are

  • Whether an applicant has been granted legal aid
  • Whether an applicant is under the age of 18
  • Whether an applicant receiving certain study allowances or payments
  • Whether an applicant is in prison or legally confined in a public institution
  • Whether an applicant is a holder of a health care card, Commonwealth seniors health card, among others

If none of the above is applicable to your situation, then perhaps you can be exempted if you will suffer from financial hardship if made to pay. To ascertain financial hardship, of if a person’s income, daily expenses, assets and liabilities are so low that payment of the $160 fee causes financial difficulties. Three tests will be applied by the courts and other agencies to ascertain your eligibility.

Once the application fee is paid, via credit card or in person,

  • A party posting an application for consent orders through a registry will receive a copy of the application for their record.
  • A party who files an application electronically can print a sealed copy for their record via the Documents filed section of the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

It’s time to engage your Family Lawyer if the orders are not eventually made, or even before applying for a consent order if you want to be sure.

Withstand Lawyers is on top of the list in Sydney when it comes to competent and friendly legal service. Because you deserve the best advice to make sure consent orders are enforced, our family lawyers are all about making things happen for you. At Withstand Lawyers, we will make sure your consent order is carried out for your protection.

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