Noncompliance with Mediated Settlement Agreement


Approximately 5 weeks ago, my soon-to-be ex and I sat down with a mediator and negotiated a settlement, one very similar to others we had discussed between ourselves in the past. Both of our attorneys were present. As I understand it, the mediator has been doing this sort of work for many years, is extremely well thought of, and highly educated. He informed us, with our attorneys, that he was not there to give legal advice.

After signing the agreement, my husband now says that the mediator “mislead” him and made statements about recent cases that he (the mediator) is unable to document. He further states that the mediator’s statements had a significant influence on his decisions to compromise…on certain issues. He states that he signed the agreement under “false pretense” and “duress”.

Bottom line is that he has not complied with the agreement and apparently plans to appeal to the judge at the upcoming hearing to finalize the agreement.

My husband sent this email to me: I had no worries about signing the agreement. I did it with reservations, but I also knew that for the contract to be valid, there could be no false pretense. That is basic contract law. If (mediator’s) statements were true, then the matter was closed and we were done and didn’t have to resume later. If his statements were false, then I have the necessary recourse to void the agreement. That is why I didn’t stop mediation or refuse to sign the agreement until (mediator) produced the case law. It was irrelevant when it was produced, just so it was produced at my request as he stated. Contracts are not valid if there is duress, or false pretense. It’s very simple.

I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter. My husband is a classic narcissist, and has and continues to do anything and everything to get his way. He is also extremely intelligent and crafty. His attorney and her assistant were in the room with my husband throughout the entire process, with an online computer at their fingertips. He was in no way forced to sign the agreement, that day or any other. In addition, his attorney has now asked to be dismissed, and has been legally granted dismissal as his attorney.

What sort of chance will he have of getting a judge to overthrow this agreement? I informed him that I personally listened to the mediator’s comments/suggestions/etc. but turned to my own counsel for advice.

Your thoughts will be most appreciated.


The fact that counsel has removed themselves from your STBX’s service, then that tells me a lot.

He signed the agreement. He is bound to that agreement until and if it gets changed. Your STBX’s comments ring very familiar in that I had a similar situation.

That’s why we have mediation…to stay out of the courts. He had a choice to sign or not to sign… and he signed. If there was false info given or if he seemed in duress, I would think his lawyers would have stepped in and advised him not to sign.


Here are a few more of his post settlement comments:

[b]I have always anticipated taking the case to an appellate court for a final ruling by knowledgable judges.

I never expected the case to be decided by a district court judge. The good news is, if you can call it good news, the higher court appears to take their work seriously. Their findings are very consistent with the statutes and existing case law from earlier higher court decisions, and their citations are extensive. It seems like attorneys that aren’t good enough to make it in private practice seek to become district court judges.

With the revolving door that exists within the legal fraternity where judges and attorneys commingle together on the golf course and at parties, it makes it very difficult for me to believe that an “arms length” relationship can exist between them.

Again, my main concern right this minute is whether or not he can convince a judge that this agreement is not valid.

It’s a sad state of affairs that our court system is so overloaded that the only way to get a carefully reviewed decision is on appeal.
Sounds to me as though he never had any intention of following through on this agreement.

Hopefully, a judge can see through this bs and recognize the extreme narcissistic traits he possesses. I’m really scared about how this will all turn out. I believe now that he went through mediation only because it was required - why he signed the settlement agreement with no intent to honor it is beyond me. And unfortunately, I have to sit back, with him in control of nearly all of the money (he put our joint investment savings account into his own name some time ago), and wait for the court system to hear the original hearing concerning the settlement (at which time I expect him to oppose the filing); then again to find him in contempt, assuming the judge does not agree with him. If she does, I guess we’ll be off to trial. Ridiculous and costly.


Your ex cannot revoke his consent to the agreement. It appears as though he was fully aware of what he was signing and the fact that he had independent representation further bolsters the premise that he knew what he was signing. As for duress, based on the facts you list your ex cannot support his claim as he was not under threat of serious physical harm when he signed the agreement.


Psychologically speaking, your STBX exhibits classic narcissistic traits for sure. He’s doing a mind job on you and you just need to sit back and let him think he’s ‘got ya’. Don’t respond to his emails…just persue whatever you planned to do legally. He’s in contempt for not following the agreement and he can be issued a Show Cause (and you can ask for lawyer’s fees). He doesn’t presently have legal counsel so your lawyer can serve him personally. Don’t drop your lawyer…let him/her do his/her job.

OHHHH so familiar. The only difference is that I fell for it for the most part. Luckily I had a very astute and caring lawyer that was 100% on my side. Gave HIM a wake up call to his BS.


Ignore his emails. He gets a power trip over thinking he is controlling the situation. Let him believe what he wants to believe. Fight the urge to defend anything he accuses of and try not to stress. He thrives off the attention and he thrives off of conflict he creates.

If you have children together then you have a long road to haul in dealing with this. You can’t control what he does or what he says but you can control your reaction to him and what he does.

I’m sorry you have to deal with it all. A lot of us have been where you are and are going through the same things. Take Care.