What is an offer to settle?
An ‘offer of settlement’ is a proposal, usually in writing, made by one party to the other seeking an agreement to the terms that are set out in the ‘offer to settle’, and if the terms are agreed to, bringing the matter to an end.
Offers to settle can be made or received at any time during a family law matter.
It may be that you would like to propose ‘terms of settlement’ to the other party or it may be that the other party sends you an ‘offer to settle’ to consider.
If you instruct your lawyer to make an offer of settlement to the other side, your lawyer needs to advise you of your actual costs, (both paid and owing up until the date of the offer to settle) and the estimated costs to complete your matter.
When your lawyer receives an offer to settle from the other side, your lawyer needs to advise you of the offer that the other side has made, your actual costs, (both paid and owing up until the date of offer to settle) and the estimated costs to complete your matter.
There can be an advantage to making an offer of settlement early on, before matters reach the court, so that if you do to go to court and you are successful, you can ask the judge to take into account your early offer and seek an order that the other party pay your costs, as long as such an offer was reasonable.
Likewise there can be a disadvantage in rejecting an ‘offer to settle’ because if you go to court and you are unsuccessful the other party can ask the judge to take into account their early offer and seek an order that you pay the other party’s costs. So, seek family law advice at the earliest opportunity, and especially if you have received an ‘offer to settle’.