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Formalising your separation agreement


We are dedicated at Parry Coates Family Law to providing you with honest and reliable advice in all matters. For example, if a formal separation agreement is not warranted we will advise you accordingly. However, for a significant number of our clients a formal separation agreement is necessary.

Common queries amongst our clients include:-

  • Why do we need to document our agreement, it’s more legal fees?
  • We are amicable. We reached an agreement and I trust they won’t change their mind;
  •  We’ve sold the house and distributed the sale proceeds, why do we need another piece of paper?
  • I’m simply getting the house and no payment is being made;
  • I will just sell my shares to pay them the cash;
  • We agreed to split my super and reduce the cash payment;
  • We’ve always travelled overseas, why would it be a problem in the future to travel with the kids?

In all of the above examples, a formal separation agreement is necessary.

Consent Orders

After we assist you to resolve your dispute with your former partner, we will continue our commitment to you by guiding you towards one of two documents available to formalise your property and/or parenting agreement.

The first option available is a ‘Consent Order’. This Order can formalise both parenting and property matters. It does not formalise any private child support agreement you have reached regarding your children. Please refer to our information on child support for more information on these types of private agreements.

There are two types of consent orders:-

  • Consent Orders where there are no Court proceedings; or
  • Minute of Consent Order where there are Court proceedings.

We have significant experience in drafting both types of Orders and will prepare your documents to implement your agreement. Once the Court approves the terms of your agreement, the order you and the other party sign will be stamped with the Court’s seal and forwarded to us. Either a copy or the original will be given to you.

Financial Agreements

A second option available to formalise your property settlement agreement with your former partner is through a Financial Agreement. This Agreement can only be used for a financial settlement, including the resolution of spouse maintenance issues.

Financial Agreements do not need to be sanctioned by the Court, notwithstanding you may be involved in current Court proceedings. Financial Agreements require strict compliance with legislative requirements, including the requirement that for an Agreement to be binding, each of you and your former partner must have independent legal advice. Each of the lawyers giving the independent legal advice must also certify they have provided such advice.

The same type of Financial Agreement can be used when parties are entering into a new relationship and are looking for asset protection. These Agreements are commonly referred to as “pre-nups”.

Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans are an alternative method to formalising a parenting agreement. Some Plans also make provision for the financial support of the children. At Parry Coates Family Law we have prepared numerous Parenting Plans between those parents who require an element of certainty and structure but do not need to the Court’s ratification.

A Parenting Plan needs to be:-

  • In writing;
  • Include the arrangements for your children;
  • Be signed and dated by each parent.

They are simple to enter into, but require a further agreement in writing to vary or discharge it or an order of the Court. We suggest that you obtain legal advice before entering into any written formal document.


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