What is an offer to settle in a family court case?

4. Learn about cost consequences for offers that are not accepted

If you or your partner reject all offers, the judge hearing the or trial must not be told about any offers to settle until they have dealt with all the issues you are trying to resolve.

The judge looks at any offers that were not accepted when deciding if there should be an order for costs.

Rule 18: Offers to settle says that if the judge makes an order that is similar to, or better than, an offer one made that the other party didn't accept, there may be .

This means, if you reject an offer, and it turns out you would have been better off taking it, you may have to pay some of your partner's legal costs.

For there to be cost consequences, an must:

  • be signed by the party making the offer,
  • be made at least 7 days before the trial,
  • still be valid, meaning it has not expired or been withdrawn before the trial begins, and
  • not be accepted by the other party.

The judge may ask you for reasons why your partner should pay for some of your costs, or why you should not have to pay for some of your partner's costs.

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