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A consent order works in what way?

A Consent Order functions much like a court order. The court order should have the same enforceable effect as any other court order if it is properly drafted. Therefore, when it is breached or not followed, the non-defaulting party can request that the Consent Order that has not been followed be enforced by the court. A court can impose penalties for failing to comply with an order. In most family law cases, a court’s aim is to enforce Consent Orders rather than impose penalties on the defendant. Often, non-complying parties must complete parenting courses in order to prevent future breaches of consent orders.  

There are, however, additional powers that can be used by the court if orders are breached by one party that are more punitive. In general, parties comply with court orders and in particular, if they are made by consent, they are generally quite happy to comply with them where they result from an agreement reached between the parties. There is no doubt that consent orders provide both parties with peace of mind, knowing they are reliable and enforceable if necessary. However, having them is not always enough, and they seldom need to be enforced. In addition, they outline clearly and unambiguously what each party needs to do, minimizing conflicts between them.

What is the processing time for consent orders in Family Court?

As far as timeframes are concerned, there are no hard and fast rules and we generally recommend to people that it will take approximately 28 days from the date your documents are lodged at the Family Court for the Consent Orders to be made. It is now possible to download court orders online with the court seal on them, and forward them on to relevant organisations, such as conveyancers handling a property transfer, or schools that require or prefer family court orders to be registered with them.

A court can in some cases review an application urgently when you make your application, but a court’s decision on an urgent basis is very limited.

There is considerable variation in timeframes depending on the location in which you filed your documents and the time of year. A Consent Order might take two weeks to make in some instances, while in others, it could take eight weeks.

You will have to file additional or amended material addressing the requisition raised by the court if the matter is requisitioned and you are asked to answer questions in a Consent Order to determine the application, which can happen. As a result, the matter will be delayed as further or amended material will have to be submitted.

If you require assistance with Consent Orders or help with your application for Consent Orders please call Family lawyers in Canberra to discuss your matter