Like any court order, a Consent Order works similarly. It should be enforceable as any other court order, provided it is properly drafted. It means that if it is breached or someone doesn’t comply with it, then the non-defaulting party can file a lawsuit and ask for the Consent Order to be enforced. Courts can impose penalties if a person fails to comply with their orders. In family law cases, the court’s goal is often to ensure that the Consent Orders are observed rather than imposing penalties. Consent orders are often enforced by requiring non-compliant parties to take a parenting course, which often prevents future breaches.
If Orders continue to be breached by one party, the court does have other powers that are more punitive. Court orders, however, are generally complied with by parties, especially when they are made by consent, and when they are a result of an agreement reached between the parties. It is true that consent orders do provide peace of mind to both parties, since they are reliable and enforceable if needed, but they don’t always need to be enforced. Furthermore, they clearly and unambiguously state what each party is required to do, thereby minimizing the possibility of conflict between them.
When does the Family Court process consent orders?
Generally, we recommend to people that it takes approximately 28 days for the Consent Orders to be made and subsequently available from the date your papers are lodged with the Family Court. However, there are no hard and fast rules or guarantees in terms of timeframes. The court orders are typically available online and are downloadable with the court seal, so they can be forwarded to relevant organisations, such as conveyancers who deal with property transfers, or schools that require or prefer to register family court orders with them.
Occasionally, you may be able to request the court to review your case on an urgent basis when you make your Application, however, the court will only consider your case on an urgent basis in very limited circumstances.
You will need to file your documents within certain timeframes, depending on where you file them and what time of year you file them. A Consent Order may be made in two weeks or it may take as long as eight weeks in some cases.
If your matter is requisitioned and you are asked to answer questions or to file further material in a Consent Order for the Application to be determined, which can happen, you will have to file further or amended material to address the requisition raised by the court, which will delay the process. There can sometimes be an adjournment for another 28 days as a result of this.