What are consent orders?
A consent order is a written agreement that is approved by a court. A consent order can cover parenting arrangements for children (a ‘parenting order’) as well as financial arrangements such as property and maintenance
Consent orders have the same legal force as if they had been made by a judicial officer after a court hearing. It is a good idea to get legal advice about any proposed consent orders.
You and your former partner can apply for consent orders to be made without going to court. For more information or to get a Consent Orders Kit go to the ‘Forms’ section of the family law website, call 1300 352 000 or visit your nearest family law registry.
How do you apply for consent orders?
Using the Family Court’s Consent Orders kit, you ask the Court to make ‘consent orders’ in the terms of your agreement. Your agreement may include information about the following:
- whether the parents are to have equal shared parental responsibilities or specify the division of parental responsibilities between them.
- whether the children will spend equal time with each parent or substantial and significant time with a parent and specify details of how the child will spend time with each parent (see Section 65DAA of the Family Law Act for what is meant by substantial or significant time).
- the time a child will spend with a grandparent or other relative.
- the communication a child will have with another parent or person.
- if two or more persons share parental responsibilities, the form of consultation required between the persons.
- any aspect of the care, welfare and development of the child, including education, health, religion and cultural aspects.
Child maintenance for children not covered by the Child Support (Assessment) Act. If you are unsure, contact the Child Support Agency on 13 12 72 or www.csa.gov.au.
Once you have completed the form in the consent orders kit, file it with the family law registry nearest you by post or in person. There is no need for you to attend court. However, the Court must be satisfied that the orders you ask for are in the best interests of the child. You can read more about the best interests of a child by going to the Family Law Principles section of the family law website.
There is a filing fee to apply for Consent Orders. For more information on fees, please see the Fees Brochure on the Family Law Courts website.
For more information or to get a Consent Orders Kit go to ‘Forms’ section of the Family Laws website, call 1300 352 000 or visit your nearest family law registry.
You cannot directly apply for consent orders in the Federal Circuit Court. However, if you already have a case in that Court and you reach agreement, orders can be made if you can’t agree on arrangements.
Parental Responsibility& Parenting Orders
The Family Law Act makes it clear that each parent has parental responsibility for each of their children until aged 18. Parental responsibility is not affected by changes in the parents’ relationship; for example, if you separate or remarry.
Parental responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children (see sections 61B to 61DB of the Family Law Act for details).
Courts make orders about parental responsibilities only if the parents cannot agree about the arrangements for their children. Courts can also approve and make consent orders to reflect an agreement reached between parties at any time during the court process. Each of these types of orders are known as parenting orders.
For more information about the law and courts’ responsibilities under the law, read the best interests of a child by going to the Family Law Principles section of the family law website.