Do it yourself property settlement consent orders

Nov 23, 2018


Are you wanting to get consent orders for your family law property settlement? Northside Lawyers can help you save on legal costs by assisting you to obtain “do-it-yourself” consent orders for your property settlement.

When a marriage or a de facto relationship ends, the couple can often negotiate between themselves about their marital or de facto finances and reach an agreement for a matrimonial property settlement which divides their assets between them. If you and your former partner can reach an amicable agreement about how to divide your property between you, then taking our “do-it-yourself” approach to obtaining consent orders for your family law property settlement can save on legal costs.

A consent order is a legal document which is submitted to the Family Court and becomes legally binding as a Family Court order. It formally provides for the agreed property settlement between two separated spouses. Although the Family Court makes the final order, the parties do not have to appear before a Judge or attend Court for that order to be made.

The do-it-yourself approach will not suit every situation, but it is something you could consider if you and your ex-partner are still on amicable terms. We offer a free first interview if you would like help in deciding whether your situation is one where the “do-it-yourself” approach might work, just call our office and make an appointment.

In the meantime, the following information about consent orders may be helpful.

The rules of the Family Court set out some technical requirements for the consent orders to be accepted. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a lawyer to draft the court documents for you to ensure they will be accepted by the Court and will provide both parties with the protection they need.

The most important thing a consent order does is it “draws a line in the sand” and separates a couple’s finances. In other words, it provides a financial settlement and legally divides the couple’s assets. In general, all property acquired after the date of a consent order is solely the property of the spouse who purchased it, free from any claim by the other spouse. The two spouses’ financial interests are also legally separated after the order is made and they can then move on with their lives. Often this means buying another house in their sole name.

A consent order is also necessary in the following circumstances:

  • If one spouse is retaining the matrimonial home and will refinance the joint mortgage into their sole name. In that case the lending bank usually requires a sealed court order to demonstrate the spouse leaving the house doesn’t have a proprietary interest in the property. The sealed consent order is usually a requirement before formal finance approval is given.
  • If it is proposed there be a superannuation splitting order where an amount of superannuation is paid from one spouse to the other. The Trustee requires a court order (or Binding Financial Agreement) before they will split superannuation from one spouse’s account to the other.

So, if you’re amicable and have reached an agreement for your financial settlement then you can save yourself legal costs!

Some couples separate and they are not interested in fighting – they don’t want things to get “messy”. Sometimes couples are still co-parenting children together and it’s important for them to maintain their relationship with one another. They have reached an informal agreement between themselves which they are happy with, they just need some assistance to get their informal agreement made legally binding into a consent order in the Family Court. They are not interested in getting legal advice on what their entitlements “could” be under the family law and are just interested in settling their case and moving on with their lives.

That is a perfectly reasonable attitude to have, and in those circumstances people can choose not to obtain legal advice (providing of course they are aware of their right to obtain advice and choose not to get it).

How will we help?

Northside Lawyers offers a service where we will draft the consent orders into a format which the Court will accept for you. We will get the necessary financial information and personal circumstances from you which allows us to quickly draw up the court documents and then provide detailed instructions on how to lodge them yourself. You are in control of how quickly your case progresses.

This service gives people what they may need – a skilled family lawyer to draw up documents in a form which the Family Court will accept. It does not involve negotiations or the provision of detailed legal advice on your rights under the family law for property settlement.

Because we are not spending time negotiating or giving you detailed legal advice we are able to undertake this work for you at an affordable rate. We pass the savings on to our clients.

This arrangement is not suitable for everyone though. See the brief dot points below to consider whether obtaining consent orders for a property settlement using the “do-it-yourself” approach is suitable for you.

  • You and your partner/former spouse are amicable in your separation, and you are able to discuss and negotiate a settlement of your marital or de facto assets between yourselves.
  • You have reached an agreement for a property settlement division of your matrimonial assets which you are both happy with.
  • You have agreed the value of the assets both of you own.
  • You are both committed to getting your case finalised as quickly as possible and have no issue providing all financial information that may be necessary to prepare your documents.
  • You and your partner/former spouse are not amicable and you are unable to discuss a settlement without an argument or heated exchange.
  • You disagree whether an asset is or is not available for distribution between the two of you as matrimonial property.
  • You can’t agree the circumstances and history of your relationship (such that it would make a significant difference to the overall settlement).
  • You disagree about value of your assets.
  • You can’t agree on the settlement between you.
  • One or both parties are not prepared to provide a full summary of their financial affairs or such financial records as may be reasonably requested by the other.

You may not actually know whether your case would be suitable for the “do-it-yourself” approach to obtain consent orders for your property settlement. In that case, we suggest you make a free first interview with one of our skilled family lawyers to discuss this further.

CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.