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23 Jul 16

Can the mediation papers be changed after both parties sign them?

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Mediation papers are a binding contract between two or more parties. There are still times when it might be beneficial or necessary to modify the finalized documents. The papers can be changed in certain situations. Here is what you should know about having mediation papers changed after they are signed by both parties.

Contact the Original Mediator

One possible way to have an agreement changed is to contact the original mediator. That person might be able to rectify a certain set of problems with the papers. The mediator will most likely have to get the consent of the other party or that individual’s lawyer to make larger changes. A mediator could also bring everyone back to the table in an attempt to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.

Discuss Things with the Other Parties Involved

If there seems to be an error, omission or other issue with the final mediation papers, then you can attempt to discuss the problems with the other parties involved. If you and the other party agree to make changes, then the papers can be modified easily by an attorney. This option is best for people who had a calm dispute or when attempting to correct technical errors.

File a Motion to Vacate

A legal option that you can take is to file a motion to vacate in the courts. You are going to need an attorney to get the best chance of achieving this goal. A motion to vacate will basically invalidate the mediation agreement in full. That means nothing in the agreement will apply to you or the other parties if the motion is granted. A judge will decide whether to vacate the agreement. You normally need a valid reason to file this type of motion.

Valid Reasons to Vacate the Papers

There are several reasons why a judge would invalidate a mediation agreement. You will have to prove your case to the judge. You might have signed the papers under duress meaning the other party was threatening you in some way. Another valid reason is that you were deceived. This could occur if you sign an agreement and then it was changed without your approval later. You might also be able to have the papers withdrawn if the other party lied about assets or other important factors just so that you would sign the agreement. These are complicated issues that sometimes require going to trial.

Speak To an Attorney

If you cannot get the other party to agree to the changes or a motion to vacate fails, then you need to speak to an attorney. Although it can be difficult, an attorney might be able to find legal or technical reasons why a particular mediation agreement should be modified or invalidated in court. Only a skilled lawyer will have the knowledge to know what to look for. Seek out an experienced attorney if all other options to change the papers have failed.

Changes in Circumstances

A final reason you might be able to have mediation papers changed in court is if there was a recent change in circumstances. This action will also require an attorney. A change in circumstances within your life or the life of the other party might make maintaining the terms of the agreement impossible. These are things like losing a job or moving to another state.

Need more info? Speak to one of our NYC divorce lawyers today.

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