Abstract This paper focuses on semistability and finite-time semistability for discontinuous dynamical systems. Semistability is the property whereby the solutions of a dynamical system converge to Lyapunov stable equilibrium points determined by the system initial conditions. In this paper, we extend the theory of semistability to discontinuous autonomous dynamical systems. In particular, Lyapunov-based tests for strong and weak semistability as well as finite-time semistability for autonomous differential inclusions are established. Using these results we then develop a framework for designing semistable and finite-time semistable protocols for dynamical networks with switching topologies. Specifically, we present distributed nonlinear static and dynamic output feedback controller architectures for multiagent network consensus and rendezvous with dynamically changing communication topologies.