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Preparing your application for consent orders

This section tells you how to prepare the documents for the court when you are applying for consent orders.

If you feel unsure about either the steps involved to prepare your application, or any documents you are being asked to sign, you should get legal advice (see Can I get legal advice?).

Understanding legal obligations

A consent order is a legal document you must follow, so it is important you realise what this means for you.

The Family Court of Australia has a factsheet called Parenting orders – obligations, consequences and who can help. To get a copy call the Family Court of Australia registry on 1300 352 000 or visit www.familycourt.gov.au

You should read this factsheet to learn more about:

  • your legal obligations under an order
  • consequences of breaching an order
  • options to ensure parents follow a parenting order
  • courses, programs and services in the community that can help parents understand their responsibilities and adjust to a parenting order.

If the court approves your consent orders, they will send you a copy of this factsheet and information about courses, programs and services in the community who can help with your sealed (stamped) orders. We recommend you read this factsheet before preparing your application.

What documents do I need to prepare my application?

You will need:

  • Application for Consent Orders (do-it-yourself kit) — this kit includes information to help you complete the forms needed to apply for consent orders. The original signed consent orders must be included with the Application for Consent Orders.
  • Application for Consent Orders — Proposed Orders Template — this template supplies the four forms you need to compile your consent orders into the document which receives the court stamp (seal) on them. The four forms are:
    1. Cover Sheet for the Consent Orders.
    2. First page for the Consent Orders.
    3. Format of Consent Orders (to follow first page of orders) — this is where you write the details of the orders you are seeking based on the agreement you have reached with your ex-partner (see consent order examples). Each order must be in a separate, numbered paragraph.
    4. Certification of Consent Orders — this document is signed by each parent to confirm the copy is a true and correct copy of the original.
  • Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Order — each person who is making an application for consent orders needs to complete a separate Annexure. Part A and part B must be completed by the person who signs the Annexure.

If in Part B, you say that there has been risk of abuse, neglect or family violence to you or a child, or allegations that this has occurred, you will need to complete part C of the Annexure to explain to the court how these orders deal with those circumstances. If you are uncertain whether these circumstances apply to you and/or your family, you should get legal advice about completing this form.

If you are applying to change a parenting order made under the Family Law Act 1975, you will need a sealed copy of the existing orders.

If there is a family violence order or any other order relevant to your case that you will be including as part of your application, then you will also need a copy of that document.

Where do I get the forms and documents?

The Family Court of Australia registry can provide you with the documents listed above. You can also download these forms from the Family Court of Australia’s website www.familycourt.gov.au. Select ‘Forms and fees’ and scroll down to the subheading ‘Consent Orders’ to access these documents. If you have a computer you can save the forms and fill them out electronically. If you prefer, you can get the forms mailed to you by calling 1300 352 000.

What do I do when I have all the forms and documents?

You should prepare all the forms before you sign them.

Step 1. Complete the Application for consent orders

The Application for Consent Orders should be typed (you can download an interactive version from the Family Court of Australia’s website that allows you to type into relevant fields). If you cannot type your answers, write them clearly in blue or black pen.

The person who lodges the form is called the ‘applicant’, and the other person involved in the case is called the ‘respondent’.

Parts J and L of the application ask for a ‘Statement of truth’ from the applicant and respondent. Parts K and M of the application are a statement of independent legal advice, which must be signed by each person’s lawyer, if they used one.

This form has a section on consent orders about financial matters other than child maintenance, such as property settlement and spousal maintenance. Ignore the sections about these matters (parts H and I) if they do not apply to you.

If you already have a parenting order that was made in the same court registry, then you should already have a court file number that goes on the front of the consent orders.

Step 2. Prepare your draft consent orders

Your agreement is called ‘proposed consent orders’ when it is presented to the court. Use the forms from the Application for Consent Orders — Proposed Orders Template mentioned above.

The forms must be typed, not handwritten.

Step 3. Prepare copies of other relevant orders

If you already have parenting orders you want to change, make a copy of the existing orders.

If you are providing a family violence order in your application, then make a copy of this order.

If you or the other parent do not have a copy of any orders needed, you can request a copy from the court that made the order (a small fee may be charged).

Step 4. Sign all the documents and forms

Show your ex-partner the forms and documents to check they are willing to sign them. If wording still needs to be changed, then take the time to get it to the point where both people clearly understand the agreement and are willing to sign it.

When everyone agrees on the wording, then each person should sign and date in all the relevant places, which are:

  • the ‘Statement of truth’ at part J for the applicant and part L for the respondent
  • at the bottom of each page of the ‘Consent orders’
  • on the ‘Certification of consent orders
  • at the bottom of page 2 of the Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Order.

Make sure you have crossed all the relevant boxes that apply to your ‘Statement of truth’ before you sign.

Each person must sign the ‘Statement of truth’, the ‘Consent orders’ and the other forms all at once. It does not matter who signs first or if one person signs the documents on a different day, providing they have also signed them all at once.

If you need help completing the documents, you can get legal advice from Legal Aid Queensland or a community legal centre.

Step 5. File all the documents and forms

Lodging your application with the court is called ‘filing your application’.

The applicant must file the application and draft consent orders within 90 days of the first ‘Statement of truth’ being signed, otherwise the court will not be able to make the consent orders.

You can file the documents by post, in person at the registry or online. For more information on filing your application online via the Commonwealth Courts Portal, you can get a copy of the How do I apply for Consent Orders factsheet from the Family Court of Australia registry, from their website www.familycourt.gov.au or by calling 1300 352 000.

To file, you will need:

  • Application for Consent Orders — original and two copies. The original signed Consent Orders is attached to the back of the Application for Consent Orders. All copies of these documents need to be certified as being true and correct copies of the original.
  • Application for Consent Orders — Proposed Orders Template — original and three copies.
  • Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Order — signed original.
  • Application for exemption from fees — general or an Application for exemption from fees — financial hardship (if either applies to you).

The applicant and the respondent should also keep a complete copy of all the forms and documents filed with the court.

Step 6. Pay the court filing fee

The Family Court of Australia charges a fee to file an application for consent orders.

You can pay the fee by cheque, money order, cash, debit card or credit card. If you are filing the application online, you will need to pay by credit card (visa/mastercard).

If you hold a government concession card, are in prison, are under 18 or can prove you’re experiencing financial hardship you may be eligible for an exemption from the filing fee. You will need to complete an Application for exemption from fees – financial hardship or Application for exemption from fees – general form depending on your circumstances. Both parents must meet the requirements for an exemption of court fees or the full filing fee applies.

For more information on filing fees, you can get a copy of the Court Fees brochure from the Family Court of Australia’s registry, from the Family Court of Australia’s website www.familycourt.gov.au or by calling 1300 352 000.

What happens after filing?

After you file your application for consent orders, a registrar at the court considers it. If the registrar thinks the order should be made, they sign the orders and send you sealed (stamped) copies. This process can take several weeks. If the registrar does not think the order should be made, they will send you a brief letter saying what you need to do. Your application may need to be considered in court by a judge.

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