Does a consent order have to be drafted by a solicitor?
The government website recommends that you use a trained, qualified solicitor to prepare your consent order for you.
Who can send a consent order to the court?
You can post or take it to the court yourself.
There are very tight restrictions on who can submit a consent order in your place.
Does anyone at the court check that the consent order has been drafted properly?
The judge will check the consent order when it is sent to the court.
If it has not been done properly, it will be rejected.
What the law says about representation in court proceedings.
It is against the law to represent someone in court proceedings unless you are authorised. This includes dealing with the court in relation to the application for a consent order.
The law that deals with this is the Legal Services Act 2007.
Divorce proceedings are like any other court proceedings. You can represent yourself, but if you want someone to help you with the proceedings, they must be authorised to do so by law.
Who is authorised to give advice in court proceedings for a consent order?
Solicitors and barristers are both authorised to advise on consent orders.
Consent order applications are court proceedings. Court proceedings are litigation.
It is an offence to conduct litigation if you are not authorised to do so.
Anyone who is found guilty of this offence may be sent to prison for 12 months or fined.
In addition there is a separate offence that anyone pretending to be a barrister can be sent to prison for up to 2 years.
Why are some online services so cheap?
There are some very cheap online services. We have checked the details of some of them and they have no authorisation to deal with court proceedings.
Some have hundreds of complaints against them at Trading Standards. The Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority is powerless to stop them.
All we can say is beware and if in doubt, avoid.
You may pay more for your consent order than you expect and you may not end up with a consent order that is usable.
If you want protection always use an authorised professional from a recognised authorised body such as the Law Society or the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Are consent orders standard court forms or templates?
No. There are no standard court forms. There are no standard templates for consent orders relating to financial orders.
Are all consent orders the same?
No. All consent orders are not all the same.
Just as all contracts used in everyday life, such as mobile phone contracts, utility bills and so on, have familiar clauses in them, they are similar but obviously not all the same.
Are there standard clauses in a consent order?
Yes, there are standard clauses that you would expect to see used in a consent order, depending on your individual circumstances.
Then there are clauses that will deal with the specifics of your individual agreement and those are the ones that need care and attention.
Are there standard precedents for a consent order?
Yes, the President of the Family Division issues standard precedents from time to time. These can be found here