In my last blog, I tried to describe your day of mediation and what to expect. The negotiations are over, and you believe you have reached an agreement. What happens next?
The mediator will reduce the agreements you have reached in the form of a Mediated Settlement Agreement. You may have settled all of the issues in your case (hopefully) or some you may decide to leave up to the Court to decide (hopefully not).
The Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) contains all of your agreements. It is very important to carefully review the MSA with your attorney prior to signing. In Texas, the MSA is binding on both parties and is not subject to revocation. Either party is entitled to a judgment based on the MSA so there is no such thing as “buyer’s remorse” once it is signed by both parties and the mediator. Typically (unless otherwise contained in the MSA), the terms of the agreement you have reached are effective immediately.
One of the attorneys for the parties will draft a final order which adds additional language more specifically setting out the agreement. Typically, the attorney who is preparing the initial draft of the order is to do so within fourteen days of the date of mediation and provide the draft to the other attorney, who then has fourteen days to agree to the draft or suggest changes. Any disputes as to the form of the order are generally resolved by the mediator. The order is then entered with the Court and your case is over.
The important thing that you have accomplished by resolving your issues in mediation is that you have had control of the resolution of your case as opposed to going through the stress and expense of going to trial and having your case decided by a Judge or a jury. If you have been considering mediation but are not sure you want to do it, I hope this series of blogs has convinced you that mediation is the better course of action to take.