Changing a consent order in Australia can be complex, but understanding the key steps and considerations is crucial for those looking to modify their family law arrangements.
This article provides a detailed guide on how to change a consent order.
How to Change a Consent Order: Step-by-step Instructions
To change a consent order, parties must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the order was made.
This involves either mutual agreement between the parties or applying to the court for a variation, which requires satisfying specific legal criteria.
Changing a consent order involves a series of steps that must be carefully followed to ensure the process is legally sound and effective. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Assess the Need for Change
- Identify Changes: Determine if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was made. This could include changes in financial status, health issues, relocation, or changes in the child’s needs.
- Consider Mutual Agreement: If possible, discuss the changes with the other party to see if a mutual agreement can be reached.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Clearly identifying the reasons for change and considering mutual agreement can streamline the process.
Step 2: Seek Legal Advice
- Consult a Lawyer: Before proceeding, it’s advisable to consult with a family law lawyer to understand your legal rights and the feasibility of the changes you’re seeking.
- Understand Legal Requirements: Your lawyer can explain the legal criteria for changing a consent order and the evidence needed to support your case.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Professional legal advice is crucial to navigate the complexities of family law and consent order modifications.
Step 3: Attempt Mediation (if applicable)
- Mediation Process: If both parties are open to discussion but haven’t reached an agreement, mediation can be helpful. It involves a neutral third party helping to facilitate a resolution.
- Document Agreements: Any agreement reached during mediation should be documented for submission to the court.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Mediation can be a cost-effective and less adversarial way to reach an agreement.
Step 4: Prepare Documentation
- Draft New Order: If an agreement is reached, either mutually or through mediation, draft a new consent order reflecting the changes.
- Supporting Documents: Gather relevant documents or evidence supporting the change’s needed.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Accurate and comprehensive documentation is essential for the court’s consideration.
Step 5: Submit the Application to the Court
- Filing Application: Once the amended consent order has been drafted, it can be submitted to the court for review and approval. If no agreement is reached, or in cases where mutual agreement is not applicable, file an application with the court to change the consent order.
- Court Review: The court will review the application, considering the evidence and legal criteria, such as the ‘Rice v Asplund’ principle.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Court intervention is necessary when mutual agreement is not possible, requiring a formal legal process.
Step 6: Court Hearing and Decision
- Attend Hearing: Be prepared to attend a court hearing where both parties can present their case.
- Court’s Decision: The court will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented. If the court is satisfied with the reasons for the change, it will issue a new consent order.
🔑 Key Takeaway: The court’s decision is based on the child’s best interests (in parenting matters) and the fairness of the proposed changes.
Also read: How to Get a Consent Order
Seek Support From Seasoned Legal Expert
Changing a consent order is a structured process requiring clear justification, a thorough legal understanding, and court involvement.
The importance of seeking legal advice cannot be overstated in this context. Legal professionals can provide invaluable guidance on the nuances of family law, help prepare and review documents, and offer strategic advice on presenting your case effectively.
Whether you’re reaching a mutual agreement or proceeding with a court application, each step should be approached with diligence and, ideally, with the support of a seasoned legal expert.
Their expertise ensures that your rights are protected, legal procedures are correctly followed, and the chances of a favourable outcome are maximized.