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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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