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Choosing a Consent Order over a Parenting Plan

When two parents decide to split up and there are children involved, it is best to make sure that any decisions you make going forward are done so with the child first and foremost in mind.

A parenting plan or a Consent (parenting) Order are when a former couple reaches an agreement regarding the arrangements of the parenting of their child or children, except that one is an informal agreement and the other is considered by the court.

It is not advisable to leave these kinds of agreements informal (with a parenting plan), due to the possible risks of either party backing out or no longer agreeing to the terms, which could lead to discord and, in turn, negatively affect the child.


Having a consent order also removes the chance of any misunderstandings or possible legal costs if unexpected issues arise, making sure the child and their needs will always be put first.

Our Principal, Glenn Thexton – a Family Law Specialist – will advise you on any proposal you have for consent orders, including how to legally draft any agreement correctly to ensure it is accepted by the Family Court in order to make those orders binding.

A consent order may also include:

  • details regarding child support and maintenance, and
  • information regarding the child’s upbringing, which may include education, religion, health and culture.

A Consent Order can be changed if a parenting plan is drawn up and agreed upon by both parents, or via the Court.

We can also  advise you on the transfer of property and how to avoid incurring stamp duty on transfers between spouses and other third parties on a separation. We provide advice on the requirements of re-financing property into one spouse’s name in order for the bank to allow a re-financing to progress.

What can’t a Consent Order cover?

Consent Orders cannot contain the following factors:

  • if you have issues around child support and maintenance,
  • medical procedures,
  • if you have a de facto relationship, or
  • a parenting order that is in favour of someone who is not a parent (grandparent, or relative).

The best way forward is to file a written agreement to the court for approval, for a fee of AU$155. Although a consent order is more typically set up between the two parents, it is possible for grandparents and other relatives to file a consent order. If both parents agree on the content of the consent order, then there is little chance you will need to appear in court.

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Speak with a Specialist Lawyer now

In order for the court to approve the consent order, it must be satisfied that the conditions in the agreement are in the best interest of the child.

Our specialist lawyers can advise you on the enforceability of consent orders to ensure that any agreement between spouses is carried out correctly and promptly. Contact us today to find out how we can help ensure stability in property division or your child care arrangements moving forward.

Unless otherwise specified, the court will assume that both parties will share equal responsibility in the consent order  unless there is a case of family violence or abuse. Both parents must be able to make any big decisions regarding the child together, and if one parent is looking to have more responsibility than the other, they must be able to prove to the court that this decision is in the best interest of the child.

The consent order must consider how much time is spent with each parent equally or unequally, as well as if this time shall also be spent with a grandparent or relative.

If the court agrees with the terms drafted by you and your former partner, it will seal the consent order and both parties will receive a copy. A consent order carries the same weight as a court order made by a judge, and any breach of a consent order is taken seriously. If you are found to be in breach of the order, you may be required to take part in a parenting program, or receive severe penalties.

Make sure your children come first.

Speak with a Specialist Lawyer today.