What is a consent order and why do I need one?
A consent order is a record of an agreement which has been reached. Once agreed, it is submitted to the court for approval. Once the order has been given court approval, the order has legal force. You are bound by the order in the same way as if you have had a decision imposed on you by the court.
You can use a consent order to finalise issues alongside a divorce. An order is also suitable for agreements reached between unmarried couples. Consent orders can cover a range of legal issues following separation.
Consent orders can be made at any time during a case, as long as it is before a case has come to a final determination. You can also have a consent order where court proceedings have not yet been issued. They are available in both children and financial proceedings. This article will explore their different purposes.
Children consent orders
Consent orders in children proceedings can record with whom a child should live, and when and how often a child should spend time with a parent. It can include arrangements for holidays, pick up and drop off of children. A consent order can even set out where the children will spend their birthdays or Christmas. It can include as much or as little detail as is required. Some parents like a detailed consent order so they know exactly their responsibilities and duties. Others prefer a consent order that gives flexibility. The agreement that suits your family will depend on a number of factors.
It can be a good idea to record and agreement reached with an ex-partner in a consent order. This makes the agreement enforceable at a later date, so that there is no doubt about the arrangements. Even if you have a consent order in place, this does not stop you from changing the arrangements for contact by agreement with your ex-partner, or order of the court. If you are both in agreement, there is no need to go back to court every time to make amendments to the order.
Consent orders can also be used to record an agreement reached through mediation.
Financial consent orders
Financial consent orders take much the same form as children consent orders, but they set out how your and your ex-partner’s assets will be divided. For example, it can record that you have agreed to the sale of the family home, and how the proceeds are to be split, or perhaps what maintenance you should receive. Similar to children consent orders, they may be preferable where parties want a bespoke division of their assets. Using a consent order to record your agreement, can also save on legal fees.
It is particularly important in relation to finances to have a consent order because this prevents you from being open to any financial claims from your ex-partner further down the line. Such financial claims can be possible even after a divorce is concluded. Financial orders can protect against future claims, for example to protect a future inheritance.
Speak to us about consent orders
Please contact our lawyers for initial advice on whether you need a consent order. Send us a ‘call back request’ and we will call you (usually within 12 hours) to discuss your case and options, without charge.
You may be interested to read our guide to resolving issues during divorce without going to court.