Seeking legal advice
It is advisable to obtain legal advice before making a decision about what to do or before applying to the courts. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. They can also explain how the law applies to your case. A lawyer may also be able to help you reach an agreement without going to court. The Family Relationship Advice Line (FRAL) can help you with free legal advice and information about services available to assist anybody with family relationship issues including information relating to family law proceedings. Please call 1800 050 321 or refer to The Family Relationship Advice Line for more information. Alternatively you can obtain initial free legal advice from a Legal Advice Line in your state or territory. You can also refer to Access to Justice which provides help and information on access to services. Court staff cannot give you legal advice.
What are consent orders?
If both parties have reached agreement about parenting and/or financial/property arrangements and want to formalise the agreement to make it binding, you can apply to the Family Court of Australia for consent orders. Consent orders can also be used to vary or discharge existing family law orders. Please read the following information in relation to parenting and property and financial matters before you proceed. The Family Law Act requires the courts to regard the best interests of a child as the most important consideration when making parenting orders. You should also read financial cases principles that the court considers to settle financial disputes. The court has to be satisfied that the agreement is just and equitable and/or in the best interests of the child/ren before they can make a consent order.
Are there any time restrictions in filing consent orders for property or financial orders?
Application can be filed anytime after separation but should to be filed within 12 months of a divorce or 2 years of the breakdown of a de facto relationship (s44 of FLA) if parties wish to seek orders from the court.
If you are seeking orders for property settlement or maintenance and more than 12 months has lapsed since your divorce became final, you should read and consider s44(3) of the Family Law Act. This may apply and if so, you must consent to the Court making the proposed property and maintenance orders. If filing beyond the time frame, you need to seek leave to file the application. Leave can be requested as one of the orders sought.
If your de facto relationship broke down more than two years before the date of filing this application, an Application for Consent Orders is not the appropriate form. You should file an Application in a Case + Affidavit seeking the Court’s permission to bring an application for property settlement/maintenance.
How do I choose which court to file my application in?
Consent orders applications can only be filed in the Family Court of Australia.
How do I file an application?
File an application for Consent Orders electronically (eFile) on the Commonwealth Courts Portal. Go to Register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal for information on how to register. See Electronically File an Application for information on how to eFile an application. Note: If you have any portal related queries email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us by Live Chat.
Complete and file the following forms at a family law registry.
What forms do I need to file?
Application for Consent Orders - (Original plus two copies).
Application for Consent Orders - proposed orders template - (This template contains the proforma for your proposed consent orders. Original plus three copies. The copies need to be certified as being true and correct copies of the original document. If you are seeking parenting orders you must attach the fact sheet Parenting Orders - obligations, consequences and who can help).
Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Orders (This form has to be completed by each party to an application for parenting orders by consent, or by his or her lawyer. The Annexures should be filed with the Court at the same time as the Application for Consent Orders and attached to the back of the signed consent orders supplement.)
Superannuation information kit (only required if seeking a splitting/ flagging order - can be ordered if further information is required. You must provide a valuation and evidence that procedural fairness has been provided to the relevant superannuation trustee.
Are there any fees?
There is a $160 fee (or $0 if you are eligible for an exemption of fees - only the applicant is required to be eligible for exemption)
Am I eligible for an exemption?
You may be eligible, please refer to the Guidelines for fee exemption.
If you are applying for a general exemption, please file Application for exemption from fees - general (attach photocopy of documentary evidence - front and back).
If payment of the full fee will cause you financial hardship you can apply for an exemption due to financial hardship - please file Application for exemption from fees - financial hardship
If you are asking the Court for a fee exemption you must file either of the above forms when you file your application that has attracted a fee.
How do I pay the fee?
If you have eFiled your application you will be required to pay the filing fee by credit card (visa/mastercard) when you complete the online application.
If you file your application by post or in person go to Making payments to the courts for more information.
What will happen after I have filed documents with the Court?
If you posted or filed an application for consent orders at a registry, each party will receive a sealed copy of the photocopied application back after filing, for their records. The original application will be kept by the Court on file. The application will be considered and the parties will be notified if the consent orders are made by receipt of the sealed orders. If the orders are not made, the parties will receive notification as why the orders were not made. If you wish to follow up on your consent orders application you should email the family law registry where the application was filed.. If you receive notification that the consent orders have not been made by the Court you should obtain legal advice.
If you eFiled an application for consent orders, you will be able to go into the Documents filed section and print a sealed copy for your record.
Go into the section and click on the icon to print out a sealed copy.
Legislation that might assist you:
Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 - SCHEDULE 8 - (Removal of references to residence and contact)
Parenting orders legislation
Financial orders legislation (other than child maintenance) for de facto couples
Financial orders legislation (other than child maintenance) for married couples