Court orders are the way the decisions or judgments of judicial officers are described. They can include:
- an order made after a hearing by a judicial officer, or
- an order made after parties who have reached their own agreement have applied to a court for consent orders. Consent orders, if they become a formal court order, have the same status as if the order had been made after a hearing by a judicial officer.
In general terms, orders in family law can include a decree, a decision, a declaration and a judgment.
When an order is made, each person bound by the order must follow it.
When can you apply for orders in the courts?
Applying to the court for orders should be a last resort and only considered after all genuine efforts to resolve the matter, such as community-based dispute resolution have failed. The exception is consent orders.
The requirements for what you must do before you apply to a court depend on whether your disagreement is about parenting or property and financial issues.
For information about what you must do before applying to the court for parenting orders, see the publication Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution – court procedures and requirements.
For additional information about what you must do before applying to the Family Court, see the publications Before you file – pre-action procedure for parenting cases and Before you file – pre-action procedure for financial cases.
Applying for orders in family law
If you are considering applying for parenting orders, you can read more about what the orders may deal with and how you apply in the Parenting section of this website.
If you are considering applying for financial orders, you can read more about what the orders may deal with and how you apply in the Property & Finance section of this website.
If you have reached an agreement you can file consent orders in the Family Court. A consent order is a written agreement that is approved by a court and can cover parenting arrangements for children as well as financial arrangements such as property and maintenance.
For a guide to applying for orders see the publication Applying to the court for orders or visit the How do I apply for Parenting Orders or How do I apply for Property and Financial Orders pages on this website.
How do I choose which court to file my application in?
Applications in family law matters can be filed in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Please refer to the protocol for the division of work to decide which court you should file your application.
How do I access my court orders if they are made?
If any orders are made by the Court, once finalised they will be signed and sealed electronically and available for you to download from the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au).
For a step-by-step guide to accessing orders see How do I access orders?