How much does a Consent Order cost?

Today, many lawyers prepare Consent Orders for a fixed fee. However, the fixed fee they charge can vary greatly. A lawyer will usually charge a fixed fee if some level of negotiation has taken place between the parties before the Consent Orders are signed, as well as the cost of providing independent legal advice as part of the fee. It is not uncommon for legal fees associated with the preparation of Consent Orders to fall within the vicinity of $5,000 to $6,000. This is due to the possibility that the matter may become protracted and take some months to conclude.  In our practice at Kate Austin Family Lawyers, we assume that you will not require independent legal advice from us, and that you and your former partner have reached an agreement regarding the property settlement or your children's future care arrangements, and our fixed fee is based on that assumption. On the basis of what you have requested, we draft your agreement without interfering with it.

It is generally much less expensive to prepare a consent order than a binding financial agreement, particularly since both parties must obtain independent legal advice in relation to a binding financial agreement, which can be quite expensive. Additionally, binding financial agreements can be much more comprehensive than consent orders, resulting in an additional cost.

Consent orders have some advantages, what are they?

Signing off on Consent Orders provides both parties with the peace of mind that their agreement has been finalised and formalised. If neither party agrees to the changes made to the Consent Orders, they cannot come back at a later date to do so.  

Most people worry that if they buy a house themselves or with a new partner in the future, the other party can come back and take half of it. The shared parenting arrangement is working for others, but if the other person decides to re-partner or perhaps relocate, it could have significant implications for the agreement that is currently in place if they are on good terms. Parties do not have to adhere to the agreement, which can leave them in a precarious position if one party's circumstances change and they're no longer comfortable with it.

Putting your agreement in writing can alleviate these concerns. Neither party can just decide not to follow the terms of the Consent Orders. In the absence of Consent Orders in place, stamp duty would otherwise be payable on transfers of real estate from joint names to one party. There is also a significant stamp duty savings if parties wish to transfer real estate from joint names to one party's name.

Consent orders have some disadvantages, what are they?

Consent Orders are usually not disadvantageous in our experience. Consent Orders are expensive to prepare and require the services of a solicitor, but most parties find that the financial advantages and peace of mind associated with obtaining them far outweigh any downsides.  

Though they may form part of your Consent Orders, Consent Orders relating to spousal maintenance may, in some circumstances, be varying by the court. In relation to spousal maintenance applications, the court must satisfy a set of very specific requirements, so it's not that easy to overturn Consent Orders relating to spousal maintenance. However, it can be done. If spousal maintenance is a significant issue for one or both parties then it may be the case that a binding financial agreement is a better option than Consent Orders, as this will more likely result in both parties being precluded from bringing an application for spousal maintenance against the other party in the future through the Family Court. However broadly speaking, there are very few disadvantages to having Consent Orders in place.

If you require assistance from a Family Lawyer in Brisbane please contact Kate Austin Family Lawyers. We would be pleased to assist you with your Consent Orders