If possible, it is best to stay out of court and to sort things out between you. Negotiating a settlement with your former partner that both of you can live with is likely to save you a lot of money, time and stress. Settling will be quicker, easier, cheaper and probably get you closer to what you want than a court decision will.
If you and your former partner are already in agreement, or are close to reaching an agreement, lawyers can help you get settlements done in a legal way without going to court.
If you think you could reach an agreement but emotions are running high or there are a few things that you can’t figure out together, you may wish to consider mediation or engaging a lawyer to help you find new ways of resolving the situation.
Even if you go to court you can still decide to come to an agreement with your former partner. This can be done even in the middle of a trial, although obviously, earlier is better (and thousands of dollars cheaper).
The chart below shows how the steps to a final agreed settlement might proceed.
- After separation you negotiate a settlement.
- Successful negotiation leads to an Agreement (Financial or Child Support) or to Consent Orders (financial and children’s matters).
- These are then ‘registered’ in the Family Courts (or exclude the courts from becoming involved)
- The matter is finalised.
What are Consent Orders?
A Consent Order is a written agreement that is approved by a Registrar of the Court, provided it is considered to be a fair and appropriate agreement.
The relevant agreement is drafted in legal terms and signed by the parties. The application is then sent to the court for approval. Once approved, the court will formally make the agreement an Order of the Court. This means that the agreement becomes legally binding and the court can impose penalties if one or both of the parties refuses to follow the order.
If agreement has been reached about all issues and the agreement is fair obtaining Consent Orders is usually a straightforward process.