Family law: What an offer to settle means in Canada

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute LLP posted in Family Law on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

If there are issues that come up in a divorce case, one party can make an offer to settle. Under family law in Canada, an offer to settle can be made by one party to another regarding one or more issues, such as child custody or spousal support. The offer can either be accepted or sent back with a counteroffer. A offer to settle can often help to avoid a trial during a divorce.

An offer to settle has to be served on an individual and his or her lawyer. The offer can include a deadline for the person to make up his or her mind as to whether to accept or not. If no response is made within the deadline, the offer is considered to be withdrawn. If an offer is made without a deadline, it remains open indefinitely until the person issuing it withdraws it or a judge makes a decision regarding its contents.

If the issuer received a counteroffer, it should be checked for a deadline. An offer should be taken seriously and discussed with legal counsel. If an offer is rejected and a judge makes a decision on an issue that was similar to the offer presented, it could be a financially costly mistake. It’s wise to discuss all contents of an offer with a lawyer. 

If an offer to settle is accepted, the document must be signed by both parties. It can be typed or handwritten, but must be signed. All things agreed on should be listed in the document. The offer to settle will be fashioned into a consent order that will go before a judge. A lawyer in Canada experienced in family law will be able to help his or her client with these types of documents and answer any questions a client may have regarding their legality.

Source: stepstojustice.ca, “What is an offer to settle in a family law court case?“, Accessed on Jan. 5, 2018

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