Parties to a Texas divorce or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship may enter a mediated settlement agreement. To be a binding mediated settlement agreement, the agreement must meet certain statutory requirements. If it meets the requirements, the agreement is binding and the parties may obtain a judgment on it.
In a recent case, a father challenged a mediated settlement agreement. After the divorce, the mother petitioned for modification of the parent-child relationship and the parties reached a settlement agreement in 2012. They reached additional agreements in 2014 and sought to have the trial courts render those agreements into a judgment. Each party moved to enter an agreed final order, but the proposed orders did not match. The court signed the father’s proposed judgment, and the mother moved for a new trial. Before the motion was decided, the parties signed a new mediated settlement agreement (MSA) following another mediation in 2015. The mother filed a notice of settlement agreement. A proposed order granting the mother’s motion for new trial and vacating the previous judgment was filed, but the trial court did not sign it.
A few months later, the mother petitioned to enforce the 2015 MSA. The court granted the mother’s motion to compel arbitration and ultimately rendered the arbitrator’s award into a judgment.