Family Law Act – Court Orders

The Family Law Act 1975 includes court orders related to official judgements and decisions. A court order is made by a judicial officer after a hearing, and is often the last resort for ex-spouses or partners trying to negotiate a fair outcome. Consent orders, however, are an exception, and are achieved by both parties first reaching a satisfactory separation agreement. Once formalised, consent orders have the same status as court orders.

What are court orders in family law?

The reach of Family Law in Australia continues to expand, and now protects de facto and same-sex partners after an irrevocable breakdown of a relationship. When marriages and partnerships end, there can be a lot to sort out including emotional and financial investment into property, possessions and children.

Your requirements for applying to a court will depend on the nature of the disagreement with your ex-spouse. Parenting, property and financial issues are all addressed by the Family Court, and you will be required to attend compulsory family dispute resolution sessions in most instances. Separation can be achieved in several ways.

  • You have reached agreement with your former spouse regarding division of assets, and there is no need for a court order.
  • You agree on settlement arrangements but also formalise the agreement with a consent order from the Family Court.
  • An agreement cannot be reached, resulting in application to court for financial orders, parenting orders, and other orders relating to spousal maintenance.

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What is an interim court order?

There are three kinds of orders in Family Law. A final order is the court’s final resolution. A consent order is similar, although it is presented at the request of the separating parties. The third kind is called an interim order, often used to permit or prohibit use of property or possessions while the case is still pending.

In parenting situations, an interim order will provide guidance as to where the child lives and who they have contact with until the court makes a final decision. Interim orders provide temporary stability during unsettling times. If you are uncertain about the steps to take regarding separation, settlements and court orders, take time to speak to a knowledgeable and experienced Taylor & Scott Family Lawyer and set your mind at ease.

When can you apply for court orders?

There are different approaches to court orders according to individual circumstances. The application can be for a final order to bring matters to a close, an interim order for urgent attention, or the formalisation of a consent order already agreed upon by both parties.

Parenting: If you are concerned for the welfare, care and development of a child, you can apply for a parenting order at any time. Applicants can be parents, grandparents or other relatives of the child.

Financial (married couples): Any person who is married or was previously married can apply for a financial court order within 12 months of the divorce being finalised. Exceptions are only made with the Court’s permission.

Financial (de facto couples): The same conditions as for married couples apply, except you must apply for a de facto financial order within two years of the relationship breakdown.

How can you apply for orders in family law?

The decisions made by the Family Court are evidence based. You can submit an initiating application supported by financial statements, ownership documents and other evidence that strengthens your position. You may also be required to attend compulsory dispute resolution sessions with a qualified professional.

It’s not unusual for divorce and separation disputes to be complex and confusing, particularly when children are involved. Taylor & Scott legal assistance can make the difference when the going gets tough and the battle seems too difficult. Taylor & Scott Family Law experts will show you exactly where you stand even before you apply for court orders, allowing you to maximise your divorce or separation entitlements.

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