Is a Consent Order Legally Binding?

Yes. Indeed, the idea of a consent order is that it ensures a private agreement is made legally binding.

If you are divorcing, it’s quite possible that you and your former spouse may have agreed a financial settlement between you. You may also have come to an agreement regarding residence and contact arrangements for your children.

If both of you agree how property and assets are to be divided, you don’t need to complete any official paperwork or apply for a Court order. However, any agreement you make between you isn’t legally binding and therefore the Court cannot enforce it.

A consent order is an order made by a judge in divorce proceedings. It is made when both parties have agreed their financial settlement and consent to an order being made without the need for a Court hearing.

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The consent order agreement will explain to the Court:

  • How both parties intend to split assets such as money and property
  • Any arrangements for spousal and/or child maintenance
  • Arrangements for residence and contact of children.

The idea of a consent order is that it makes informal arrangements legally binding and therefore enforceable through the family Court.

As a consent order is a legal document, it should be drafted by an experienced legal professional. There are specific legal rules as to what you can and cannot include in a consent order, and so it’s important that it is drafted in a way that ensures it is legally binding, and that you have recourse if the order is not adhered to.

Note that you can only have a consent order once the divorce has been issued. You can apply for a consent order once the decree nisi has been granted in the divorce proceedings. It becomes legally binding when your decree absolute has been granted.

The only instances where a consent order may not be legally binding are when the Court believes that the agreement you have reached is not fair to both parties or not in the best interests of your children. A Court will not approve a consent order in these circumstances.

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