There are real advantages for finalising a property settlement by way of consent orders. There may also be disadvantages to settling by consent, depending on the terms of the agreement reached, the quality of the drafting of the Application for Consent Orders, and ultimately your circumstances. Prior to accepting and filing an Application for Consent Orders, we recommend you speak with one of our specialists in family law about the issues in your matter.
In general terms, some of the advantages of resolving your financial issues by way of consent orders may include:
· Finality of an outcome, avoiding the potential of a time consuming, stressful and expensive proceedings if litigated at court;
· Confidence that by being financially severed from your ex-spouse, you can apply your property interests and income how you choose (without accounting to your separated spouse, and them potentially reaping the benefit of any asset growth!); and
· As there are no guarantees in any proceedings, there is some advantage to have achieved certainty of financial outcome through negotiating a settlement and recording it in Consent Orders.
On the other hand, some disadvantages that may be applicable in your matter could include:
· If your matter proceeded to a mediation, arbitration or even a Final Hearing, an agreement or a decision made at such event may be more favourable to you after consideration of your circumstances at that time;
· If you enter into a Minute of Order giving effect to an agreement reached between you and your partner, you will usually lose your right under the Family Law Act to ask for maintenance, or financial orders, different from those set out in the Orders; and
· Orders may be able to be varied or set aside by the Court in the future and in limited circumstances, including where circumstances arise after the Orders are made which make it impractical for part of the Orders to be acted upon, or if a party has failed to provide full and frank disclosure.