One of the goals of the family law system is to encourage resolution between the parties wherever possible. Offers to Settle, governed by Rule 18, are one way in which parties are encouraged to resolve their issues. At any point in the process, it is possible for either party to serve on the other party an Offer to Settle. Offers must be signed.
In your Offer, you should set out how you wish to resolve all the contested issues between you. You can specify a deadline for accepting the Offer. If the other party does not accept by that date, then the Offer will be considered to have been withdrawn. If you do not specify a deadline, the Offer remains open until you formally withdraw it.
If you receive an Offer from the other side, it is very important to be aware of Rule 18(14), which states that if the other party makes you an Offer to Settle, you do not accept that Offer, and the order ultimately made by the court is as favourable or more favourable to the offering party than their Offer was, the offeror is entitled to their legal costs, unless the court orders otherwise, to the date the Offer was served, and full recovery of costs from that date. In other words, if you reject an Offer, and it turns out you would have been better off taking it, you will have to pay a large chunk of the other party’s costs. The Offer must have been made at least one day before the motion date, if it relates to a motion, and at least seven days before the trial or hearing, if it relates to a trial or hearing.
It is therefore very important that you seriously consider any reasonable Offers you receive from the other party. It is also in your best interests to consider making the other side an Offer, if you think there is a way for you to come to an agreement.
Our Ontario family lawyers at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. can provide advice, drafting services, preparation, or the complete handling of your Offers and every aspect of your divorce or separation. Our services are provided based on your goals, needs, and budgetary concerns.
Contact our firm today by calling (905) 581-7222. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.