You can’t download a consent order from the court website. So, you need to draft one (or arrange for a solicitor or barrister to draft one for you). A consent order needs to fit your requirements perfectly. One size doesn’t fit all.
What goes into a consent order?
The court only accepts court orders prepared in an approved format. This is usually best done by a solicitor who specialises in this type of family law.
I use court approved precedents like those produced by Resolution the Solicitors Family Law Association for its members.
These precedents have been prepared after months of collaboration and discussion between family court Judges, solicitors and barristers.
The aim is to achieve a degree of consistency. The terminology is well recognised and they are written in plain English (or Welsh as our law is the law of England and Wales).
Consistency helps speed up the approval process. It improves the likelihood of your consent order being approved first time.
But whilst precedents are useful, they are really only part of the drafting process.
Quite simply no two orders I draw up are exactly the same.
First I ask my clients what they have agreed. Then I take that information and convert it into the draft consent order.
Who can draft a consent order?
Anyone can have a stab at writing down the outline of an agreement but only a solicitor (or in some situations a barrister) should draft a consent order.
Drafting a consent order well, so that it is accurate and unambiguous is a skill. It requires a lot of training.
The whole purpose of a consent order is that it has legal force. Poorly drafted consent orders or terms that aren’t clear or can be interpreted in more than one way, are usually unenforceable. As a result you have wasted your time and effort, not to mention the court fee.
Court staff are not legally trained and are not permitted to advise or help with the preparation of court orders.
Online divorce providers are not allowed by law to provide this service. They have to refer to third party solicitors. I recommend that anyone interested in going down this route checks the small print carefully to make sure that they have a contract with the solicitor not with the online company who will not be regulated by the legal ombudsman and will not have solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance.
As a solicitor I am legally trained and qualified and I have 20 years’ experience drafting court orders.
Why shouldn’t I have a go at drafting a consent order myself?
A consent order is a legally binding contract once approved by a court.
You cannot usually appeal a consent order.
The terms of the order are intended to bring an end to all applications between you and your spouse/civil partner all around the world (not just within your divorce/dissolution proceedings).
So, before you have a stab at it yourself, you need to think very carefully about the consequences of making a mistake and binding yourselves to an obligation you actually don’t want.
For more information on my consent order service send me a message using the form below.