November 22, 2011

A Note About Confidentiality

shutterstock_5806426editMediators assist with the settlement of legal disputes. They use a variety of techniques to achieve settlement, including listening to the parties’ desires, educating the parties and some suggest possible scenarios to resolve competing interests.

Once the marital partners have signed a Marital Settlement Agreement, the mediator’s job is finished and the mediator may not modify or even clarify the signed agreement. Also, because mediation is confidential, the mediator may not be subpoenaed nor voluntarily testify to anything said by the parties during mediation, nor reveal documents produced as part of the mediation. These restrictions apply even if a dispute arises once mediation has concluded and thereafter either party files a Court action to either enforce the Mediated Martial Settlement Agreement or to attempt to set it aside.

The Marital Settlement Agreement may be modified if both parties agree and an amended Agreement is signed. However, if there is no mutual agreement, the confidentiality of the mediation process precludes either party from obtaining the mediator’s testimony either voluntarily, through a deposition, or through a subpoena to attend a Court hearing.