An offer to settle is a legal option available to both parties involved in a family law case in Australia, serving as a means to conclude matters without proceeding to a trial. The agreement allows the parties to resolve the case without heavy involvement from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the court), and at times promotes a more prompt  and affordable resolution.

However, parties may choose to forego this option and proceed directly to trial. The court does not compel parties to make offers to settle or counteroffers, but the benefits of engaging in this making or taking offers to settle include cost savings and avoidance of the stress, time, and expenses associated with court proceedings.

The advantages of making offers to settle

Making offers to settle can spare you from incurring additional expenses on your case and you can avoid entering a protracted legal battle. Making the decision to settle reduces costs and offers a more effective way to resolve family law disputes. 

The advantages of making offers to settle also extend beyond financial considerations. Both The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia acknowledge that settling disputes outside the courtroom can have positive effects on the emotional well-being of the parties involved, especially in family law matters. Timely resolution through settlement can minimise the emotional toll associated with prolonged legal battles, and is especially at times in the best interests of the children and families affected by the legal proceedings.

How do I make an offer to settle?

Typically, the court does not actively participate in the offer and counteroffer process. Instead, it encourages the involved parties to voluntarily make offers to settle, emphasising the importance of resolving family law cases in a timely and cost-effective manner. 

Any offer to settle, regardless of whether it covers all or just some of the case’s issues, must be recorded in writing. It is important to emphasise that the settlement negotiating process is discrete in nature and that written offers should not be submitted to the court.

To ensure the effectiveness of offers to settle, Parties must follow the deadlines set forth in the Family Law Rules. Rule 10.18 emphasises that an offer to settle remains open for acceptance until the allotted time or until a reasonable period has passed. This clause underscores the importance of clear communication and diligence in the negotiation process, allowing both parties enough time to evaluate and respond to settlement offers.

When can I make offers to settle?

In the context of Australian family law, the capacity to make settlement offers is not limited to particular stages of the judicial proceedings. According to the Family Law Rules (Rule 10.05), parties have the flexibility to make offers to settle at any point in the legal process, whether it be before the court issues an order to dispose of the case or during an ongoing case. Parties are empowered to initiate offers to settle even before formal court orders are issued.

When can I accept an offer to settle?

The Family Law Rules (Rule 10.13) explicitly affirm The right of parties to accept an offer at any point up until the opposing party formally withdraws the proposal or until a court judgement is rendered. This flexibility allows parties to consider settlement options until a definitive legal decision is reached.

Can a party withdraw the offer?

The withdrawal of an offer to settle is contingent upon the nature of the offer, whether compulsory or non-compulsory. In instances where the offer is non-compulsory, the party extending the offer has the prerogative to withdraw it at any time by delivering written notice to the other party involved. 

On the other hand, when an offer is deemed compulsory, The Family Law Rules (Rule 10.15B) outline that if a party wishes to withdraw the offer, they are only permitted to do so by presenting another genuine offer to settle. 

Compulsory offers to settle

In property and parenting cases, it is mandatory for a prospective party to make an offer to settle before initiating court proceedings, adhering to pre-action procedures that encourages resolution before resorting to litigation.

Empowering Resolutions: Consult a Legal Professional for Informed Guidance

In navigating the intricacies of family law in Australia, understanding the significance of offers to settle is crucial for a streamlined and cost-effective resolution. To gain comprehensive insights tailored to your unique circumstances, consider consulting a legal professional specialising in family law. By seeking expert guidance, you empower yourself to make informed decisions that align with your best interests and contribute to a smoother resolution process. Don’t hesitate—reach out to a legal professional today and take proactive steps towards resolving your family law matters efficiently and effectively.

About Quill Legal

At Quill Legal we innovate, educate, and plan to evoke excellence and confidence. Our principal solicitor, Shams, and his team are focused on delivering an honest, first-class service. With Quill legal by your side, you have lawyers who will passionately listen, advise and advocate your rights from start to finish.

Read Our Google Reviews
5.0 Star Rating

Would you like to book a
Free Consultation?

Simply fill out this form below and one of our staff members will be in touch within 24 hours

    What our clients
    say about us

    Lovly! YT

    A big thank you to Quill Legal for all their hard work relating to my family matter.

    An absolute awesome team lead by Shams. You weren't just my solicitors, you were also my shoulder I could lean on. You took on my very complex case and got me the outcome I hoped for. A big thank you to Cindy. You, Shams and the team are an absolute gem!!

    Fynn Bricknell

    I would strongly recommend anyone seeking legal advice to contact the team at Quill Legal. Thank you so much!

    I was recommended to speak to Shams from Quill Legal by a friend after he had seen how upset I was about loosing my drivers licence. Shams and the team guided me through the process of appealing my licence suspension in court. He listened to me and answered any questions I had during the case. The process was smooth and the team was professional and very easy to work with.

    I have recommended Quill Legal services to multiple friends and colleagues all of which have had shared the same fantastic experience.

    Daniel Moy

    I was stressed out about a complex traffic infringement. I reached out to Shams at Quill and that stress went away.

    Jennifer was given my case and touched base with me constantly. I was never left wondering what was going on with my case. At court jennifer was professional and got up and did an amazing. The best possible outcome was achieved for me. It was a such a relief to hear the words come out of the judges mouth. I walked out of court a happy man. It was all because of the team at quill. If you haven’t pick up the phone and called Shams, Jennifer and the team at quill to represent you, then you called the wrong law firm.

    Diwa Venkata

    Shams is very professional and empathetic legal practitioner.

    I recently used his services for a family law case. He is thorough and understands the situation and provides apt advice. I was able to resolve my issue within no time and thanks to his meticulous service. Highly recommend Quill legal for anyone looking for family law services.

    Jay Varma

    Highly professional, responsive

    Jennifer and team helped me in one of my hardest times in life related to personal matter in family, the outcome was positive which help me come out mentally, emotionally, professionally strong. Thank you!

    Clayton Bricknell

    Shams and his team were 'the rock' when they handled my Family Law Matter.

    He was always available to discuss options that we formulated or were presented, approachable either in his office or over the phone and very reasonable in terms of the costs that related to my matter. Shams is the right person and Quill as a firm, to consider should you have the need to progress with your own Family Law matter. Thank You Shams!

    Amanda Louise

    Quill Legal helped me gain control of my life again.

    I can't thank Shams and the entire team enough for getting justice for me. They are all so helpful, determined, professional and supportive. I wish I could rate Shams and his team higher than 5 stars for what they have done for my family. Best lawyers in Sydney!

    Mark Moretti

    Professional, friendly, great advice , fully transparent

    We Help Solve Your Legal Issues

    With Quill Legal in your corner, you can be assured of a lawyer who has a passion for getting to know you and your circumstances. This enables our team and our partners to provide the best possible service for you and your family.