e recently represented a client who wanted to fight for property as part of his recent separation up with his wife. We told our client the Family Court has a waiting list of up to three years, effectively putting his matter (and life) on hold and that there was a better solution.
The three year waiting list not only adds to already high stress levels for all parties involved but creates problems with property values. A house or super fund could be worth a lot more (or less) in two years, meaning they need to be revalued. We have seen some clients pay up to $2000 for a valuation of their house!
An area of family law commonly overlooked in these matters which we regularly ask clients to consider is consent orders. A consent order is an agreement between both parties that gets approved by a Court and has the same effect as an order made after a court hearing.
With consent orders, both parties draft an agreement between each other over property or children and file this with the Court (through their Lawyers). Once the consent orders are filed, the Court agrees and sends back signed copies of the orders, which become legally binding on both parties.
Consent orders have a number of huge advantages such as the cost savings (sometimes up to ten times less than going to court), the parties don’t need to attend court and consent orders can be granted a lot faster than waiting for a court hearing.
Whilst consent orders can be prepared and lodged yourself (via the Family Court) we always advise having a Family Law Lawyer prepare them – to ensure they are as robust as possible. We sometimes come across clients who have prepared their own consent orders- only for the Family Court to send them back asking for amendments which is annoying, time consuming and costly.
Our client took all of the above into consideration and he has started the consent order process instead of lengthy, costly court action which he initially wanted to do.
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