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In divorce proceedings when a mediator is used is there a way the mediation agreement can be reviewed for accuracy?

Three Rivers, MI |

My ex and I along with our attorneys attended a mediation where the mediator was in another state. It was done via tv. (like Skype) What was agreed on in mediation was altered, I believe when it was put on paper for me to sign. I requested that my attorney review the actual comments/agreement made to eliminate a disagreement I had with the wording in the typed mediation report. He stated that the mediation was not recorded. I would think that it would have to be recorded and also available for review. Am I correct?

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

While I cannot say whether the mediation session you participated in was actually recorded or not, mediation is not supposed to be recorded. In fact, confidentiality is the cornerstone of mediation. The purpose of having confidential mediation sessions is to encourage open communication in order to reach a settlement agreement. That being said, if you do not feel comfortable with the terms of the agreement and you have not yet signed it, inform your attorney that you would like the misunderstanding to be corrected before you move forward. You may have to have a mediation session with your divorcing spouse in order to resolve this issue. Good luck.

Posted

Under Michigan law, a Divorce Mediation setttlement agreement does not HAVE to be recorded (the actual "back-and-forth" settlement discussions that occur during Mediation are never recorded, in my experience) . I would strongly recommend you clarify any settlement agreement discrepencies BEFORE signing the Judgment of Divorce. Unfortunately, the situation of a verbal settlement agreement thereafter resulting in many arguments over the written "details" is all too common. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with your attorney ASAP, to confirm they are well aware of all your concerns, and to assess all your options at this point in time. I wish you all the best of luck. Warmest regards, Matt Catchick.

Posted

I agree with Mr. Catchick. Since you are represented, you should immediately talk with your lawyer about your concerns. Whatever you do must be done BEFORE the judgment is entered.

I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.

Posted

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process. If the written agreement does not reflect what you agreed to, do not sign it. Your attorney and/or the mediator should be able to assist you in negotiating language that is satisfactory to both parties.

This is a general statement for public knowledge and not intended as legal advice, nor does it create an attorney client relationship.

Posted

Mediation is private and confidential so there should be no recording of the mediation session itself. Once an agreement is reached a draft document stating the agreement is prepared; the draft should then be reviewed by the parties and their attorneys. Sometimes when the drafting occurs issues come up that were unresolved during the mediation and the drafter tries to assume what the parties intended or the drafter states the agreement in a way that is different than the parties intended. In any event, you should only sign the document if you agree with it and believe it accurately states your agreement. If you do not feel that it states your agreement accurately you should let your attorney know; changes should then be made to the document until there is a final document that accurately states the agreement you reached. If something is ambiguous or you and your former spouse disagree on what you thought you agreed upon you may need to have another session to complete the agreement. The document should only be signed by you if it accurately states your agreement; once the agreement is signed it is usually enforceable.

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