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Jan 19 2022

Can I Renegotiate My Mediation Agreement If My Home Value Changes?

In mediation, an independent professional mediator facilitates a meeting between you and the other party regarding their divorce disagreements and disputes; the goal is for it to productively and confidentially resolves the issues. Within a safe environment where no one has an advantage in power, the mediator gathers information that may include the divorcing parties’ goals, their income, budgets, taxes, and property values. The mediator then uses creative processes to procure an agreement for each issue identified. Mediation can be a useful tool when it comes to resolving differences and finding mutually beneficial solutions in the divorce process, and it is an effective way to save time and money for both parties. At Atticus Family Law, our attorneys have guided many clients through the mediation process, and we can help you better understand both the benefits and legal issues involved in family law mediation.

How a Post-Mediation Property Appraisal Impacts Your Agreement

Mediation is a practical and thorough solution in many situations, but it is not without its challenges. For example, when an agreement involves projected home values, the situation can become more complex. What happens when a refinance appraisal done after mediation comes back higher than the home value used to craft an agreement in mediation? What does this mean for the party that was not awarded the house? It may seem like a good idea for that party to attempt to renegotiate for a higher settlement, but there are several reasons why this may not be as beneficial as it appears.

First, it is important to note that abandoning a non-binding mediated agreement will likely add months to the divorce process, which may very well be contrary to your goals in the divorce. Second, remember to consider additional costs incurred as a result of a renegotiation. The additional money awarded from the house may be offset by attorney fees to renegotiate the settlement and/or proceed with a trial to resolve outstanding issues. At Atticus Family Law, our attorneys are skilled litigators who do not shy away from a trial, but we also work with clients to help them understand the potential risks and costs associated with divorce litigation.

Third, to abandon the agreement would jeopardize the preferrable valuations of assets, debts, and equalizers; also, it may put you at risk of losing the cherished money and property as was originally negotiated. Fourth, appraisals to secure bank loans are done with the eye of securing the mortgage and not private owner valuation, so that appraisal value is not as relevant as it may seem. Because the intention is different, it is not an apples-to-apples equivalence!

Enlist the Help of an Experienced Family Law Attorney

For mediation to work, both parties must be prepared to negotiate in order to reach an agreement. An experienced Stillwater divorce attorney will enable you to understand where the line is between a prudent compromise and undue generosity. The Atticus Family Law team has been guiding clients through mediations and evaluations for many years. They listen to each client’s goals and concerns and help design a custom strategy for resolving every issue. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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