The A- Z of Family Law

In this week’s series on the A – Z of Family Law, Georgia takes a look at the letter O, covering the topic Offer of Settlement.

An offer of settlement is an ‘offer’ to ‘resolve’ the matter or aspects of a matter on certain terms. It can relate to any issue in the matter, including parenting, property and child support issues.

An offer should be in writing and clearly set out in the proposal. It should also include a timeframe for acceptance and/or confirm whether it is an open, longstanding offer.

An offer can be either an open offer (meaning the position is something that the party making the offer is happy for the court to know they are willing to accept) OR, a without prejudice offer (which means it is an offer, usually a compromised position, that the party does not want the Court to know at the stage of the matter they are willing to accept).

An offer of settlement can be made at any time by either party. However, there are some stages of the matter where an offer is compulsory such as:

  • As part of pre-action procedures, when providing disclosure etc prior to commencing proceedings;
  • When ordered by the Court, usually prior to significant court events such as a conciliation conference or final hearing.

The benefit of making an offer is that it enables parties to engage in settlement discussions, narrow the issues in dispute, and if you make an offer that is not accepted and the outcome of your contested Court matter is later equal to or better than your offer for you, then you can rely upon your offer in support of an application for costs against the other party.

Check out the other Letters in the A – Z of Family Law:

The letter B: Barristers, Best interest of the child

The letter C: Child support, Collaborative Law

The letter D: Divorce, Disclosure

The letter E: Estate Planning

The letter F: Financial Disclosure and Financial Agreement

The letter G: Case Guardians, Litigation Guardians

The letter H: Hearings, Hearsay Evidence

The letter I: Injunctions, Interim Hearings

The letter J&K: Judicial Officers, Section 90K

The letter L: Lawyers, Legal Aid, Limitation Period

The letter M: Mediation, Marriage

The letter N: Notice of Risk 

If you have any questions about the words we have covered in this article or would like us to explain another term please do not hesitate to contact us at Southern Waters Legal.