What are Consent Orders? A quick break down of the facts.
Updated: Mar 26
What is a Consent Order Family Law?
A consent order is a legal document confirming an agreement between parties. A consent order may have details of divisions of savings, investments, property, pensions, etc.
A consent order may also include arrangements for child maintenance payments, or general child contact and residence agreements after a divorce or separation. It essentially formalizes an agreement between the two parties.
We at Court Help Limited can help to draft a consent order for you.
What does a consent order do?
As mentioned earlier, the consent order will provide a detailed explanation of the agreement of hand, essentially formalizing an agreement and making it legally binding.
What happens after a consent order is approved?
Once the consent order is approved and sealed by the Judge, the consent order will be sent by post to both the parties involved. Each party (and/or their lawyer) will then be responsible for carrying out any additional Ts&Cs of that consent order.
These further Terms and Conditions could include things such as:
The sale of the family home
Any other more complex decisions related to finances or property or distribution of money earned as pensions.
For Child Arrangements, it could be related to a child's schooling (eg. Where the child will go to school, who will go to parents evenings etc etc)
Please note that as the consent order is legally enforceable, the parties involved must make sure that any Ts and C’s in the agreement are complied with.
What is the difference between a Court Order and a Consent Order?
A Court Order is made after a Court Hearing and is made by a Judge, after listening to evidence from both parties and any other relevant government agencies (eg CAFCASS, the police).
A Consent Order is made by the two parties (and their solicitors), they have more control over what is in the consent order and negotiate it together.
Consent Orders are based on the mutual agreement of both parties, whereas a Court Order is a settlement made by the court in a court case between the two parties if processes such as mediation did not work. When a Court Order is made by a judge it is often made in favor of one of the parties.
Once both the parties are satisfied with the contents of the consent order, then both of the parties will sign and date the document. Further, the signed document will be submitted to the court so that the Judge can approve it. This step ensures that the consent order is fair and reasonable for both the parties involved.
How long is a consent order valid?
Once the court approves a consent order, then the order is valid and enforceable until and unless one of the parties later applies for the order to be set aside or removed. Any consent orders regarding child arrangements such as visitation or contact may become null once a child turns 18.
It is very difficult to go back once the consent order is made, and it is therefore important to be confident with the consent order before submitting it to the court for approval.
How much does a consent order cost the UK?
A fee of £50 has to be paid to submit a consent order to the Court. The fee is submitted along with a Statement of Information and Form A.
However, you will also have to account for any money spent on legal advice by hiring a solicitor just to draft the document. Again, the legal fees depend on the complexities of the agreement and the firm hired.
How long does it take for a consent order to be processed/approved?
Generally, once a consent order is signed by both the parties involved without any disagreement it gets submitted to the court for approval. Assuming the Consent Order doesn't require any revisions, and all the information provided is correct, the Consent Order may only take from 1-2 months to be processed.
Of course, if the Court requires any further changes to be made to the order, then this time may be extended.
Can a Judge Refuse a Consent Order?
Yes, Judges can reject or refuse a consent order, if they feel that the order is not fair. This is important as appealing a Consent Order is very difficult and can only happen in exceptional circumstances.
When Judges refuse the orders, it does not mean that they are trying to be difficult but they are trying to protect the parties by ensuring they do not get stuck in an unfair order.
Do you need a solicitor for a consent order?
No, you do not need a solicitor to draft a consent order. However, in case of a complex case a lawyer's assistance may be required to properly negotiate the agreement and to ensure that the agreement covers all necessary avenues.
Can I write my own consent order?
Yes, one can write their own consent order. However, as mentioned earlier, a consent order is a legal document that is quite hard to appeal.
It is therefore advisable to seek the advice of a lawyer, paralegal or solicitor while reviewing the agreement. Especially if the case is quite complex. All the legal clauses in the documents must be drafted correctly to ensure that the situation is handled correctly and no confusion or loopholes are created.
Choosing to write your own consent order by using a downloaded template from the internet is inadvisable. It would not fully reflect your situation and would make the chances of rejection by the court much higher, ultimately resulting in a loss of money regardless.
Is a consent order final?
A party is free to negotiate changes in the agreement at any stage before signing the document/consent order.
However, once the consent order is signed by the parties and approved by the Judge, the consent order is final. It can only be appealed in exceptional circumstances, such as:
Someone having not fully disclosed their financial assets if the consent order is about financials
Someone in the agreement suffering a serious injury that affects their ability to do what is set out in the consent order.
Is a consent order enforceable?
A consent order is legally binding and enforceable once it is approved by the court. Read more about Enforcement Orders here.
What happens if you breach a consent order?
If one or both parties breach the consent order by not complying with it, then the court will enforce the consent order. More can be found about Enforcement Orders here.
Unless there is a good reason for breaching the order, the person will be liable to fulfill his or her obligation immediately. Please note that the court will not punish someone for doing what is in the best interests of a child.
In most cases, the breaching party will be required to pay money to the other party or carry out any obligations that may be mentioned in the consent order.
Can the court overrule a consent order?
Usually, there is no court hearing in case of a consent order.
The judge will approve it and make it legally binding if the judge thinks that it is fair and if the judge feels that it is unfair then he or she can ask the party to change the consent order, or even totally reject the order.
Can We Help You?
We at Court Help Limited are specialized in Family Law matters and may be able to help you draft your Consent Order. Our legal team has rich experience and knowledge to assist you in the documentation and paperwork involved in such cases.
We also specialize in various family law matters such as child custody, divorce settlement, domestic violence, etc. All of our Legal Articles are available here.
In case you are facing any such issues concerned with family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us. You can read our reviews here. At the bottom of the page, there is a Quick Contact Form, you can fill it out or email us at email@example.com or call us at 07375757510.
Note: This article is not legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.