Separation – we’ve reached agreement, what now?

    So, your relationship has ended and you and your ex have managed to reach an agreement. You want to formalise the agreement as effectively and smoothly as possible so that you can move forward without further worry. There are a few options as to how you can do so, and as always, it will depend on your situation and the agreement reached as to which one is the best. Here’s a quick 101 to get you started: 

    1. Informal Agreement

    Many people negotiate a settlement with their ex-partner, which they might seal via a handshake, exchange of text messages or by their word. The agreement might involve transferring money, or a property, or nutting out where and when the kids are with each parent. It’s not uncommon that the parties consider that once agreed, the matter is ‘done and dusted’. 

    However, this option cannot provide certainty or finality. It’s not enforceable, and does not prevent your former partner making an application to Court later on for more money/assets or time with the kids. 

    1. Consent Orders 

    Court orders are the best way to achieve finality after the breakdown of your relationship. If you’ve reached a fair agreement, you can usually obtain ‘consent orders’ without having to step foot in a Courtroom.

    Final property orders made by the Court are enforceable and are considered a final resolution of your financial affairs. 

    This means that there are only limited circumstances where a party can return to Court to seek financial support or further property from the other party. Consent orders are designed to allow people to move on with their lives and acquire new property separately and with certainty. 

    You can also apply for consent orders regarding parenting arrangements. However, before doing so you should seek legal advice as to whether it’s appropriate. It might be that a parenting plan, which is a non-enforceable more flexible agreement, is the better choice. 

    Applying for consent orders can be quite a technical task, so it’s best to engage a lawyer to draft the necessary paperwork to ensure the application proceeds smoothly. 

    1. Financial Agreement

    You can finalise your property settlement via a ‘Financial Agreement’, often known as a ‘prenup’ or ‘postnup’. A Financial Agreement, as the name suggests, cannot deal with parenting arrangements. 

    However, there are a lot of compliance requirements for Financial Agreements, and plenty of reasons why they are not for everyone. In entering one, you are contracting out of the provisions of our Family Law Act relating to a property split and/or spousal maintenance. Before you can sign up, it’s mandatory to have received independent legal advice.


    So, what is right for you? Typical lawyer answer – it depends. To find out where you stand and what’s the most suitable option for you, speak with our specialist team of family lawyers. Best of all, we offer fixed fees where agreement has been reached, so have a look at our website packages or get in touch for more information.
    T 9318 4188

    McManus & Co Lawyers
    McManus & Co Lawyers
    McManus & Co Lawyers Suite 103, 1 Thomas Holmes St Maribyrnong VIC 3032 T: (03) 9318 4188

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #96 May 2024

    Recent editions



    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles