Can you change Consent Orders?

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The easiest way to change consent orders is with the other party’s consent. It is always recommended that people first speak to the other party about their willingness to change Consent Orders before taking any further action. An application for Consent Orders can be obtained if both parties agree that their Consent Orders should be changed, or if the current Consent Orders should be varied.

 Without the consent of the other party, there are very few circumstances in which a court will change your existing orders.

Before the court will change your parenting Consent Orders it must be satisfied that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the Orders were made. This change must warrant them being reviewed and reconsidered. The court is reluctant to reopen parenting matters and put children through further litigation if it can be avoided.

There are only a limited number of circumstances where you can ask the court to vary or set aside a property consent order. For example you must be able to prove that there has been a miscarriage of justice by reason of fraud, duress, suppression of evidence or the giving of false evidence in Order to re-open your property case. Alternatively, you can establish that in the circumstances that have arisen since the making of the Orders it is impracticable for the Consent Order or Orders to be carried out. You could also establish that a person has defaulted in carrying out an obligation required by an Order. The absence of the consent order may be due to circumstances of an exceptional nature relating to the care welfare and development of a child of the relationship that have arisen since the consent order was made. The circumstances in which you can apply to set aside a property settlement Order are very limited. Therefore, you should ensure that you review the Orders carefully before signing off on them.

How do I apply for a Consent Order?

The court requires you to file two documents in Order to have Consent Orders made. Firstly, you have to file a document entitled “Application for Consent Orders”. For a property settlement, this document sets out all of your assets and all of your liabilities. It also has a table which explains in mathematical terms what the Consent Orders say in words in terms of the outcome. There are also questions about what each party contributed to the relationship, and whether there are any ‘future needs’ issues that the court needs to have regard to. If you are seeking Parenting Consent Orders your Application also answers questions with respect to the children, most notably in relation to their current living arrangements, and their health and education and financial support.

Also, you must file a Minute of Order, which details all the Consent Orders you are requesting from the court. A property settlement must specify which assets will be retained, which liabilities will be paid, and whether there will be any transfers of assets or liabilities between the parties. You might outline how much time the children will spend with each parent on special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas in a parenting case. As well as travel arrangements, changeover arrangements, supervision, and extracurricular activities, you can request Consent Orders for other things. 

A Family Court Registrar in Chambers will review both documents if submitted properly and, if appropriate, make the Orders requested in accordance with the documents you have submitted. If there are problems with what you have submitted, the court will return the documents to you with a requisition notice, which you must complete before resubmitting the documents. Consent Orders are a completely different process to a Divorce application.

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