Are mediation agreements enforceable?
Dear Clients and Friends,
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, where parties attempt to resolve their differences without going to court. It implies deliberation that results in solutions that may or may not be accepted by the parties.
Whether your dispute relates to a Family Law or any other legal matter, a mediation is for parties to reach a resolution on their disagreement(s) and have that resolution acknowledged by the court system. A mediation agreement, once signed by both parties becomes a legally binding contract. This assures parties that their rights as set forth in their mediation agreement will be recognized by the law and therefore legally enforceable if there is non-compliance with the agreement.
Prior to signing a mediation agreement, anything discussed or mentioned during mediation is considered confidential and is non-binding on either party. This allows for open communications. However, once an agreement has been drafted and signed by both parties they are then bound by the terms of the mediation agreement.
With the mediation agreement being a legally binding contract the parties are assured that they will have available to them the Court’s enforcement protection as they move forward.
Therefore, it is important that parties to a mediation understand and are comfortable with the mediation agreement’s terms before signing it. If they have reservations the mediation is not over – or the parties and the mediator can agree that they have reached an impasse on this dispute resolution process.
A mediation agreement can be altered by the parties if the need arises. If they are able to come to a new resolution, the parties can amend and once signed they will then have a new legally binding agreement. Of course, if a new agreement is not reached the original agreement will continue to be their binding agreement.
We invite you to call us for a fee phone evaluation to see if we can be of help in resolving your legal matter through the courts, an arbitration or a mediation process.