What are Minute of Consent Orders?
A minute of consent orders is a document containing the proposed orders an individual is requesting the court to make on their behalf.
These are otherwise known as draft consent orders.
A minute of consent orders is useful for individuals who need to implement a consent order for a certain matter. A consent order is an order made by the Family Court which makes the terms agreed by both parties legally binding.
This form of consent order can be used to consider both parenting and financial matters such as:
- Property settlements
- Spousal maintenance orders
- Parenting orders.
If the minute of consent order is valid and capable of being enforced, then the court will make consent orders in accordance with the minute of consent order.
When is a Minute of Consent Orders useful?
A minute of consent order is useful for parties that are able to reach an agreement regarding an issue they have. Reaching an agreement without the court is more time and resource efficient than relying on court processes.
However, reaching an agreement without the court generally means that such agreements are not made legally binding. This means that there will be no repercussions if one party fails to follow the agreement. Hence, some individuals choose to submit their agreement to court in order to make the agreement legally binding on both parties. This is done by requesting the court to make consent orders.
How does the court make consent orders?
An application for consent orders can be made at any stage during a court matter, and does not involve any court hearings.
To file an application for consent orders, an individual will need to file a minute of consent orders. This must be done in accordance with the rules stated in the Family Law Rules (2004). The minute will need to meet certain requirements to be accepted by the court.
These requirements include:
- The proposed orders need to be clearly stated
- A statement that the minute has been drafted with the consent of both parties involved
- The minute of consent orders must be signed by both parties
- The order must be copied such that there is a copy for each person and a copy for the court.
Depending on the parties’ circumstances additional documents such as a referral letter may be needed.
Once the minute has been submitted, the Family Court will consider whether the document correctly complies with all requirements. Then it will determine whether the agreement is capable of enforcement.
What the court considers in a consent order application
If the Court is satisfied with the minutes that have been submitted, it will make the requested orders. Alternatively, the Court can also request additional information from both parties or it can choose to dismiss the application.
The Court’s considerations will depend on what the parties’ consent order relates to. For example, if the consent order application relates to a property settlement, the Court will be required to consider whether the orders reflect a fair and equitable split of property, having regard to financial and non-financial contributions, as well as the future needs of both parties. For orders relating to parenting, the Family Court will be required to consider whether the orders are in the best interests of any children that are involved.
Once a consent order is approved by the Court, the orders will generally be legally binding on both parties straightaway. A consent order, unless otherwise specified, can last indefinitely. If either party wishes to remove the consent order, they will need to apply to the Court to have it set aside or demonstrate that there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ that occurred when the consent order was made.
If you need any assistance regarding a minute of consent orders or a consent order application, please feel free to reach us via the contact form.
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