Consent Orders

In the normal run of things a Consent Order is something that is used in connection with the mediation process. Mediation is something that a divorcing couple may go through if there are areas concerning their divorce where they fail to agree. At the end of a successful mediation a Mediation Agreement is drawn up. The agreement is not a legally binding document and for the results of mediation to have any basis in law the agreement has to be turned into what is known as a Consent Order before it can be presented to the court for their decision.

Once a Consent Order has been agreed and settled by the court it is almost a hundred percent reliable, it becomes a point of law that can only be overturned if the parties involved have lied or if there has been a mistake in drawing up the agreement. The factors behind overturning a Consent Order are known as the intervening event and for anything to be called such an event it has to meet the following criteria:

  • There is a time limit on overturning Consent Orders and for this to be done the intervening event has to have occurred within twelve months of the order being signed off by the court.
  • The event leading to the overturning of the Consent Order cannot be after the fact of the divorce unless it is something that was not given due consideration at the time of the divorce.
  • The issue has to be sufficiently significant as to undermine the rest of the terms of the Consent Order. If the issue had been brought up while the order was being drafted then the order would have been altered at that stage.

If you want to have a Consent Order set aside then you will have to get your solicitor to make application to the court as soon after the event as possible and certainly less than a year. Any third parties who are involved e.g. children, should not be lose out because a Consent Order has been overturned.

A Consent Order deals with residency and contact issues where there are children and it must hold their interests as paramount. The order will also contain all of the property and financial issues that the court will need to consider when a couple has divorced. Decisions will have to be made over the matrimonial home and whether the person who has residency of the children should continue living with them in that home or whether the property should be sold and the proceeds divided.

The document will also state how any other assets the couple may own jointly or individually should be divided. With regard to furniture and other household possessions there is a clause which says that these things should remain in the possession of the person who had them at the time the Consent Order was made. The order will also deal with future finances such as maintenance and child support arrangements and pension arrangements.