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Is a mediation agreement signed by both parents in the presence of the mediator but not processed through the courts enforceable

Macon, GA |

Mother and Father have joint physical & legal custody with an existing parenting agreement and custody order in place. The parenting agreement calls for mediation in the event of a disagreement between parents. Prior to the school year both Mother and Father met with a mediator and were able to agree to change one visitation day from Tuesday (part of original court ordered visitation) to Thursday to accomodate the child's extra-curicular activities. The new schedule has been in effect the entire school year, however now that a holiday falls on the visitation day awarded during mediation (Thursday) Parent A refuses to let Parent B pick up the child on that day. Is the mediation agreement in fact binding? Does Parent A have the right to arbitrarily refuse to allow Parent B this visitation?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

So long as the mediator was registered with the State of Georgia as a bona fide mediator, and neither party was unable to lawfully enter into whatever agreement was reached at the mediation session, the allegedly non-breaching party would be permitted to seek enforcement of the agreement with the court, possibly through a motion to enforce agreement. The facts stated are not clear as to whether there was an underlying court case that is now finalized and as part of the order that court entered the parties were required to enter into mediation, or if a case is still pending & the parties are mediating to try resolving outstanding issues in the case. Depending on the specific facts of your situation, in addition to possibly seeking enforcement of the mediated agreement, there may also be grounds for initiating a contempt and/or modification action. I advise speaking with a family law attorney about this to make sure everything procedurally and substantively is covered. Good luck.

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Posted

You have a binding contract, unless one or both parties were unable to contract because of some legal incapacity (which is not suggested by your post). However, you do not state whether a modification action was filed, whether the mediated agreement was filed with the Court, whether the parties requested that the agreement be made the Order of the Court, and whether a modification Order was entered. It does not appear from your post that any of that was done. If not, then your ex's failure to comply with the new terms is not a violation of any Court Order and the his or her failure to comply with the agreed upon terms will not subject him or her to the contempt powers of the Court. You should see a family law attorney about your next steps. If you cannot afford an attorney, call your local Bar Association:

Bar Association: Macon Bar Association
Address: P.O. Box 123 Macon, GA 31202-0123
Attorney Referral: See website.
Phone: (478) 752-3511
Email:
Website: www.maconbar.org

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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.

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Posted

While the agreement may be a contract it does not enforce itself. Have your attorney (if you do not have one, get one) file a motion if there is an existing custody case, or file an appropriate custody case is thee is not one.

ATTORNEY GLEN ASHMAN 404-768-3509 www.glenashman.com . If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

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