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Wonder why you can’t DIY your Consent Orders?


Ahhh the Family Court’s DIY Application for Consent Orders Kit. A lovely 22 pages of questions and nine pages worth of instructions. You’re asked to do maths and know whether a part of the Family Law Act applies to you or not.

Very user friendly and very easy. Not.

I had a couple come see me recently. They said to me, “our agreement is simple. We’re going to sell one house, and then for the other one, she’ll buy me out of and take over the loan”.

They felt proud of themselves for coming to this agreement, and so they should’ve! Reaching an agreement about who is going to keep what is what I say is one of the hardest parts of separating. Massive kudos to them!

I asked them though, “What’s to happen if the house that you want to sell, doesn’t sell for a really long time?”

Hint: If it’s a terrible market, then yes, it mightn’t be in your interests to be forced to sell real estate where you’re going to make a loss, or when you both agree you could do better with a bit of time.

What’s to happen if you don’t achieve the sale price you intended?

What’s to happen if they can’t take over the loan and buy you out?

If the house is to be sold, do you have an idea about how the sale proceeds should be split?

What if though the house sells for $200,000 more than its agreed value? Or, what if the house sells for $50,000 less than the agreed value? What do you want to do about that?

Look, at the end of the day, yes your agreement is probably incredible simple and seems so. But, you’ve got to understand and appreciate that the drafting of the paperwork to achieve the outcome that you want and intend for, let alone those potential what-if scenarios, can in fact be incredibly complex.

This is what you pay a lawyer for! If you know much about me, I am generally loathed to encourage traditional lawyer involvement. But when it comes to your agreement paperwork, you do need the legalese help to make it all happen.

If you get a lawyer to draft your agreement and do nothing else, you’re missing out on what you deserve—that is a service of what your agreement paperwork could look like with the most reasonably foreseeable scenario arising (as a worst case), so that you can then make an informed decision to cut back what’s in your agreement paperwork if you so choose.

You deserve more than a cookie cutter precedent Consent Order. You’ve worked incredibly hard for your money and you don’t want or need to be spending it with some lawyer who is going to prepare a copy and paste precedent order for you, to then pay for their bathroom renos.

Get real, start asking questions of whoever you get to help you prepare your agreement paperwork.

Remember, you deserve to know and understand.