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Family Law Case Study - Obtaining Consent Orders

In the last few months our office assisted a client with resolving his Family Law property and parenting matter out of Court by way of obtaining Consent Orders.

The parties were in a relationship for over 20 years and had two children under the age of 18. The matter involved high nett worth parties, who were the directors of several big companies. Due to complex asset structures, the parties could not agree on certain asset values and their respective settlement proposals were too far apart.

The parties also could not agree on the parenting arrangement for their children, which caused significant stress and anxiety for our client. When our client first attended our office, he was depressed and seriously considered foregoing his full legal entitlements in the matrimonial property pool in exchange for spending more time with the children, as was proposed by the mother.

During our initial face-to-face meeting with our client we provided comprehensive legal advice in relation to the property and children matters and our client's legal rights and entitlements. Using “the Four Step Process” as reaffirmed in Bevan & Bevan [2013] FamCAFC, we identified the assets, contributions, future needs of the parties as well the practical effect of property settlement. Our client was given a range of expected outcomes, if the matter proceeded to Court.

Our client also understood that it was not appropriate for his former partner to use the parenting matter as leverage in the property matter, i.e. the mother could not seek a bigger share of the property pool in exchange for agreeing that our client was to have more time with the children. We explained to our client that spending more time with the children would actually increase his legal entitlement in the property pool pursuant to the future needs factors and decrease the wife’s share.

As a first step, the parties proceeded to exchange their financial disclosure documents. Our office perused all the financial documents and prepared a comprehensive Balance Sheet. It was apparent that the parties could not agree on the value of the company and some real property and expert valuations needed to be obtained.

We proceeded to obtain independent expert valuations of the major assets and prepared an offer of settlement to the wife in relation to the property and parenting matters. The wife proceeded to obtain independent legal advice and following further discussions with her lawyer the parties came to an agreement in relation to the parenting issues only. The Wife’s solicitor insisted that the parties needed to obtain Consent Orders only in relation to the parenting matter as the property matter was too complex to be resolved out of Court.

We insisted that the property matter must also be resolved before any Application for Consent orders was to be made to the Court. The parties proceeded to exchange further offers and within a few weeks an agreement was reached in relation to all issues in dispute. The turning point was an informal settlement conference organised by our office by telephone with the Wife's solicitors. We managed to persuade the other side that both property and parenting matters needed to be settled on the terms as proposed by our client. Application for Consent Orders was then prepared by our office and signed by the parties. Consent Orders were obtained from the Federal Circuit and Family Court within 4 weeks of filing.

We successfully managed to resolve our client’s complex family law issues within 3 months without the stress and significant costs of litigation.

At Surge Legal we go above and beyond to settle your matter out of Court. It should always be a red flag if your family lawyer is extremely keen on commencing legal proceedings, instead of exploring all dispute resolution options available.

Family Court Proceedings can cost you in excess of $100,000.00 in legal fees when it comes to complex matters. A smart negotiation strategy out of Court with the right lawyer can go a long way towards reducing your legal costs, not to mention the stress and time of litigation. At Surge Legal, we tend to resolve around 90% of our Family Law matters out of Court for a total cost to our clients between $3,000.00 - $5,000.00 on average! There can be no debate that the right approach is to negotiate settlement and avoid legal proceedings at all costs.

Make the right choice and contact us today for a Free Consultation.


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