Lucy Wood Family Law
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So you've reached an agreement...How to best seal the deal

Where both parties have reached agreement about property and financial arrangements, it is often the case that the agreement is formalised by applying to the Court for consent orders. There are many advantages to consent orders such as:

  • The agreement is properly documented, and becomes binding and enforceable
  • If one party fails to do something that they are required to do by the consent orders, or fails to co-operate, steps can be taken to remedy this
  • When the Court makes the consent orders, the Court is satisfied that the terms are just and equitable
  • When property is to be transferred pursuant to the consent orders, proper drafting can ensure stamp duty exemptions apply making it an extremely cost effective resolution

The application process is reasonably straightforward, but as with most things, the devil is in the detail. The main objective when ‘sealing the deal’ is to close the door on any potential future claims by your former partner, and ensure there are no sleeping tigers in respect of financial obligations particularly where companies and trusts are involved.  It is therefore vital for the terms of the consent orders to be carefully and thoroughly drafted so as to include all necessary protections and indemnities, and for attention to be given to any possible tax implications.

It is crucial that with any agreement, full and frank disclosure has taken place. Any agreement reached should to be on the basis of a party making an informed decision, and receiving sound legal advice. Otherwise, how can you agree to something if you don’t know the full picture?

We can guide you through what’s involved and discuss any alternatives that may be more appropriate in your circumstances, such as a Financial Agreement.

If you reach agreement but want to keep things informal (i.e. no consent orders and/or no financial agreement), you may be taking a significant risk particularly in relation to property and financial matters. We strongly recommend you seek prompt legal advice so as to ensure your rights and interests are properly protected. Please be aware, time limits may also apply to obtaining consent orders.

Lucy Wood