Court orders are decisions or judgments made by a judicial officer. They can include:
An Order made after a hearing by a judicial officer, or
An Order made after parties who have reached their own agreement have applied to a court for “consent Orders.”
In general terms, Orders in family law can include a decree, a decision, a declaration and a judgment. When an Order is made, each person bound by the order must follow it.
Interim Orders: The Court may make Orders while the case is being heard that operate until the Court makes a final determination. Interim Orders are binding until they are replaced by Final Orders.
Final Orders: Once the hearing is finished, the Judge will make a decision. They may make final Orders on the day, or may set a new date when the final decision will be made. In both cases, a copy of the decision and reasons for that decision will be given to you. Once Final Orders are made, they replace any interim Orders that may have been set. You must make sure you are in Court on the day the Final Orders are handed down by the Magistrate.
Consent orders: Consent Orders, if they become a formal court Order, have the same status as if the Order had been made after a hearing by a judicial officer.
A consent Order must be on a special form which is available from the Family Court. It must be signed, dated and witnessed, filed in the court and approved by the court to have legal effect.
Although you do not need a lawyer to complete the consent order document, you should get legal advice before filing this document in court.
If the court agrees to make the arrangements you propose, a Court seal is then placed on the consent Order documents to show that is has been approved by the court. You and the other party will get a copy of these documents for your records.
As consent Orders are legally enforceable, they can only be changed by a further consent Order, a parenting plan or by a later court Order.
It is best to get legal advice about your options before signing any parenting plan or consent Order.
Do you understand the terms of the consent orders? Remember, consent Orders are binding. It’s important to make sure you fully understand what they mean.
Directions: Directions are orders made by the judicial officer that guide how your case will be conducted. They may be to ensure you undertake certain tasks such as filing particular documents by a particular date. If you need help understanding the directions that the judicial officer has made, you should contact a solicitor for legal advice.