The Importance of Acquiring Signatures at Mediation

Couple Signing With Mediator

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a dispute resolution method where a neutral person assists the parties in resolving their disagreement. Mediation is an alternative to litigating in court; but, a “court-ordered mediation” can occur when this method is utilized by a court. Mediation normally occurs in a neutral location where the parties can speak freely and explore various options to resolve their dispute.

Who Is a Mediator?

A mediator is a neutral third-party who serves to bring the disputing parties into agreement. Many mediators are trained in conflict resolution management. Different types of individuals can serve as mediators, such as a retired judge or a volunteer attorney.

Do Mediation Agreements Have to Be Signed?

If an agreement is reached during mediation, it must be put into writing and signed by the parties for it to be legally binding. If a party is represented by an attorney, the attorney must also sign the agreement. Once those steps are taken, the agreement is a binding contract between the parties and is enforceable in court. Therefore, it is very important that the parties sign the agreement made during mediation.

What Is a Memorandum of Understanding and Is It Legally Enforceable?

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is prepared by the mediator and is a summary of the terms that the parties are willing to agree upon. It is normally drafted prior to the signing of the settlement agreement. However, an MOU is typically not legally binding, especially if it is not signed by the parties of the mediation. 

Are Mediation Agreements Confidential?

Mediation sessions are conducted privately, and the discussions are confidential. With certain exceptions, matters unique to the mediation discussion have been held by federal courts as privileged and are inadmissible in a court proceeding. However, a signed mediation settlement agreement is not confidential unless the parties agree that it will be confidential. Unless the parties agree to confidentiality, the mediation settlement agreement may, and in some cases must, be filed in court.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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