Southern Indiana Mediation

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Attorney Keith M. Wallace
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Is an Agreement Reached in Mediation Final?

At the end of a mediation, if there is an agreement, the agreement will be reduced to writing. Once the written agreement has been signed by the parties, it becomes final. If the parties are represented by attorneys, the attorneys also need to sign the agreement for it to be final.

In many mediations, particularly non-family mediations, a mediation agreement will be final.  In some family mediation agreements, such as those concerning the welfare of children, a subsequent modification can be made if there is a substantial change of circumstances.  In the case of mediation involving children, as with orders issued by a court, the interest of society is in ensuring the well-being of the children. If there is a mediation agreement where the parties believe because the children are young that there may be a need to later revise the agreement, the original mediation agreement can contain a provision that before either party files to change any aspect involving the children in court, the parties are required to return to mediation.

For instance, there may be issues concerning future agreements that may need to be made concerning future parenting time or other issues.  A mediation agreement could, for instance, specify the conditions upon which parents will need to agree in the future.

In these cases, it will be best for all concerned if the parents can resolve any such new matters, either by themselves or through a subsequent mediation, rather than going to court.

The Parties to a Mediation Should Not Assume that a Mediation Agreement Can be Re-Opened at Any Time

If there are issues that the parties desire to resolve in the future, such as where a child will go to school, it is best that the parties include these provisions in the agreement to the effect that these decisions will be made at a later point. Again, the mediation agreement can specify if when time comes for these decisions the parties cannot reach a decision together, the parties must mediate.

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