What is Settle by Sunday in Family Law?

What is Settle by Sunday in Family Law?

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Managing Director Bruce Provan explains what “Settle by Sunday” means in family law.


My name is Bruce Proven. I’m the Managing Director of Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers. We’re a law firm in Central Brisbane practising exclusively in family and fertility law.

Today I’m going to talk to you about what is Settle by Sunday in family law. This is a fairly new concept that’s gaining in popularity and the aim of Settle by Sunday is for parties to have negotiations in a limited time frame to try to reach an agreement without the matter proceeding any further, and in particular, without having to proceed to court.

Now, the arrangements or negotiation can be set down to happen over a few days or even just one day, with the aim that all outstanding issues between the parties can be resolved through a negotiation that happens by Sunday, so that come Monday, they know that’s behind them and they can move on with their lives.

So what often happens is that parties will engage their lawyers. They’ll arrange for this negotiation to take place. Often it’s at a neutral venue such as a hotel or at a retreat, or it can be at mediation rooms, and sometimes it involves having third parties to assist the people with their negotiations.

Now, that can either be a mediator or it could, for example, be an accountant or a tax expert or a child expert who are there and able to assist. They may not need to be there for the whole of the weekend, for example, but they can be there for part of the time. Now, Settle by Sunday generally involves one of two processes, either collaborative law or mediation, and I’ll explain what that involves.

Collaborative law is a process that’s been around for a few years now that was started in the USA where certain family lawyers are trained collaborative lawyers, including myself, and what happens is that parties seek advice from their trained collaborative lawyers and collaborative law involves a series of meetings between the parties and their lawyers, often with the assistance of the third parties I mentioned previously, the accountants or tax experts or child experts, who try to assist the parties to reach an agreement.

Mediation is a different process. A mediation involves having a third party who was a trained mediator, often a nationally accredited mediator, and I’m a nationally accredited mediator, and their job is not to give people legal advice, but to assist the parties with their negotiations to try to assist them to reach an agreement between themselves.

Now, mediation obviously only works if both parties enter the process in good faith and with some goodwill between the parties. But very often parties reach an agreement either at mediation or if they can’t reach an agreement, mediation, they continue to negotiate and they end up reaching an agreement without having to go through the court process or go any further through the court process.

So people who attend a mediation shouldn’t feel as though if they don’t reach an agreement, mediation, that’s been a waste of time and money because so often it’s not and that people keep negotiating. So the Settle by Sunday process really is a process where either the collaborative process or the mediation can happen in a confined time frame so that people can have a negotiations, try to reach an agreement about all issues and be able to move on with their lives quickly.

My name is Bruce Provan. I’m the managing director of Page Proven Family and Fertility Lawyers.

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Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board