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Family Law: consent orders and avoiding litigation of your estate

In this week’s Family Law feature, Northern Beaches Mum Stephanie Maspero on behalf of Maspero Legal shares two important topics that have popped up during discussions with clients over the last fortnight which are relevant and interesting – consent orders and avoiding litigation of your estate ….

Consent Orders – one way to bypass the three year wait list for family law matters

Wait times in the Family Court at the moment just for a case to be heard can be up to three years –  leaving single parentsa frustrated, stressed and with a feeling of hopelessness.

One area of family law that is commonly overlooked and a great solution to tackling the three-year waiting list is that of consent orders. A consent order is an agreement between parties that is approved by a court and has the same effect as an order made after a court hearing.

The way a consent order works is that both parties draft an agreement between each other over property or children and file this with the Court.  Once the consent order is filed, the Court agrees and sends back signed copies of the orders, which become legally binding on both parties.

Consent orders have a number of outstanding advantages such as the huge cost savings (up to ten times less than going to court), parties don’t need to attend court and that they can be granted a lot faster than waiting for a court hearing.

Whilst consent orders can be prepared and lodged yourself (via the Family Court) we strongly advise having a Solicitor assist in drafting them – to ensure they are as robust as possible.  We often come across clients who have prepared their own consent orders-  only for the Family Court to send them back asking for amendments which is annoying, time consuming and costly.

An important protection clause to safeguard your estate

In our last blog we discussed having adequate provisions in your will for your children should god forbid you both pass away at the same time.  Children aside, you should also think about having a clause in your will that deals with what happens to your estate should you both pass away at the same time. Spending a couple of hundred dollars today to correct this, is well worth the saving of ten times this amount when you are no longer around!

Did you know that in the event of both parents/partners passing away at the same time, the eldest is deemed to have passed away first, meaning the estate of the youngest of the two can inherit the estate of the eldest?

This is important to think about in the context of mixed marriages (i.e your second or third marriage). Should both parents/partners pass away and this principle apply, the children/estate of the youngest parent could receive the entire estate of the eldest, which could be against the wishes of the eldest parent/partner.

Correcting this would most likely involve Supreme Court action and no doubt be a very costly experience. As we always tell clients, a small fee today is better than ten times this amount after you are gone to rectify your estate and your will should be as robust as possible so it effectively carries out your wishes.

Avoiding the above scenario is as simple as adding a clause in your will outlining what will happen to your estate should you both pass away within 30 days of each other.


Maspero Legal is a family business on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with 27 + years of helping clients satisfy their legal needs.

Servicing all of Sydney and beyond, they know the most important person in the room (and court) is you and their convenient and flexible services include pay as you go billing to help resolve your legal problems effectively.

With after hours and weekend availability to suit your busy schedule, they enjoy using technology such as Facetime and Skpe to offer a tailored approach in everything they do.

They offer a free consultation at a time and place to suit you, all you need to bring is an open mind.


 

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