How can a mediated settlement agreement be modified?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can a mediated settlement agreement be modified?

We went to a mediator, reached and signed an agreement. Terms were to go into effect 6 months ago. Her attorney dropped the ball, didn’t file documents or set a court date. I’m pro se, we both procrastinated, now have a court date this month. I’ve been paying all bills which surpass the obligation under the agreement. Can the dates simply be changed to next month if we both agree or do we need to redo the whole thing?

Asked on February 1, 2016 under Family Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) A settlement is a contract: therefore, like any other contract, if all parties to it agree to a change, it may be freely changed.
2) If the other party will not agree, you could bring a legal action and ask the court to reform, or modify, the settlement to better reflect the actual intention of the parties, which may not be adequately captured by the terms of the settlement if there were changes or a lapse of time since the signing (e.g. time passed before it was filed) and/or if the settlement was not well-drafted. A court  has the power to do this if it can be shown that the words/terms of the settlement do not effectuate what it can be shown *all* parties wanted at the time they entered into it. If you have court date, there is a case pending: you would do this in the context of a motion made in that case.
3) If the lawyer procrastinated, it's possible you would have a malpractice case against her.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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