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What you need to know about consent orders

What you need to know about consent orders

How much does a Consent Order cost?

The fixed fee that lawyers charge to prepare Consent Orders can vary wildly from lawyer to lawyer. It is quite common for lawyers to charge a fixed fee based on some level of negotiation between the parties before the Consent Order is signed off, and that fee will also include the cost of providing independent legal advice. Typically, lawyers charge a fixed fee based on the possibility that the matter may be protracted and take some months to resolve. It is not uncommon for a lawyer to charge $5000-$6000 for the preparation of a Consent Order.  At Kate Austin Family Lawyers we work on the basis that you will not require independent legal advice from us and on the basis that you have reached an agreement with your former partner relating to your property settlement or future care arrangements for your children; our fixed fee is based on these assumptions. Your agreement is drafted solely on the basis of your requests and we do not interfere with it.

It is generally much cheaper to prepare a consent order than a binding financial agreement, particularly since both parties are required to obtain independent legal advice when preparing a binding financial agreement, which can add significant costs. Also, binding financial agreements can be more comprehensive than consent orders, resulting in additional expenses.

Signing Consent Orders has some advantages, right?

Essentially, signing off on Consent Orders ensures that both parties have been assured that their agreement has been finalised and formalised. In that case, neither party can seek changes to the Consent Orders that have been made again at a later date unless the other party agrees to them.  

In the future, most people worry that the other party will come back and take half of their house if they buy it on their own or with a new partner. People who are on good terms and share parenting arrangements are working can worry that, even if the other person decides to re-partner or perhaps wishes to relocate, this could have a significant impact on the agreement.  If one party’s circumstances change and they’re no longer able to agree to the arrangement, it can leave both parties in a precarious position.

It is important to lock your agreement into formalized Consent Orders. Neither party can simply decide not to follow the Consent Orders anymore. There is also a significant stamp duty savings if parties wish to transfer real estate from joint names to the name of one party as stamp duty may otherwise be payable if Consent Orders are not in place.

What are some disadvantages of signing Consent Orders?

It is usually not disadvantageous to obtain Consent Orders in our experience. Consent Orders do cost money to prepare and require the services of a solicitor, but most parties find that they outweigh any downsides in terms of financial advantages and peace of mind.  

Despite the fact that these items may form part of your Consent Orders, the court may, in some circumstances, vary your Consent Order relating to spousal maintenance. When applying for spousal maintenance, the court must meet very specific criteria, so it’s not that easy to overturn a Consent Order regarding spousal maintenance, although it can be done. If spousal maintenance is a significant issue for one or both parties then it may be the case that a binding financial agreement is a better option than Consent Orders, as this will more likely result in both parties being precluded from bringing an application for spousal maintenance against the other party in the future through the Family Court. However broadly speaking, there are very few disadvantages to having Consent Orders in place.If you require the assistance a Family Lawyer in Sydney  please contact Kate Austin Family Lawyers. We would be pleased to assist you with your Consent Orders.

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