What Is Mediation (A Quick Refresher)
Mediation can help people solve their disputes without the need for a judge or tribunal to make a decision. In mediation, an impartial (meaning, they won’t take sides) and nonjudgemental mediator will help people discuss issues on which they disagree.
Mediation can be used in many situations. For example, it might be appropriate if you have a disagreement with:
- a neighbour over a tree or noise,
- another party over property settlement,
- a local business over their service,
- your former partner over parenting arrangements or financial settlement,
- a sibling regarding settlement of a parent’s estate, or
- a parent over their desire to live independently.
Find out more about mediation here: https://interact.support/what-is-mediation/
Is An Agreement Made During Mediation Legally Binding (Enforceable)?
If you’ve come to an agreement with someone then it’s generally a good idea to write it down. This helps ensure that everyone has the same understanding, and nobody forgets anything. However, creating a written agreement and signing it does not necessarily make it enforceable, or legally binding.
Most agreements made during mediation are based on trust and goodwill, and are not legally binding. For example, a simple agreement regarding how the costs of building a new fence will be shared between two neighbours is not legally binding, or enforceable.
A document must contain specific language for it to be legally binding and enforceable.
Some signed agreements, like a parenting plan, might be taken into account by a judge if the matter winds up in court.
Many agreements can be made legally binding with the help of a lawyer.
If you are considering mediation for a dispute and have any questions or concerns about agreements made during mediation, it is a good idea to seek legal advice. 20 minutes with a lawyer might save a lot of stress and tears later on.
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