Separation and divorce
What to do with your summary of mediated agreements
You’ve gone through family mediation to settle various issues related to your separation, and the mediator has drawn up a summary of your points of agreement. What happens next? This article explains how this summary may be used and the next steps in the legal process.
The summary itself does not have legal effect
The “summary of mediated agreements” is a confidential document in which the mediator briefly lists the points on which you and your ex agreed during the family mediation sessions.
This summary doesn’t have any legal effect on its own. Therefore, you and your ex are not legally obliged to respect the agreements it contains. The summary is essentially a working tool to help guide you in your further discussions and possible future legal proceedings to have your agreement approved by a judge.
However, if you and your ex have signed the document or voluntarily decide to put into place some of the agreements it contains, a judge could order you to respect all the points mentioned in the document.
You can write up and sign a formal agreement
Why do it?
If you write up and sign a formal agreement, it has the legal effect of a contract, and you must respect it. If you or your ex fails to respect the signed agreement, you can turn to the courts to demand that it be respected.
Signing a formal agreement is also an opportunity to provide any details that need to be added to the points agreed to during family mediation and, in so doing, head off any misunderstandings.
How to do it?
To transform the mediator’s summary into a formal agreement with the legal effect of a contract, you and your ex could:
- Write up the agreement yourselves and sign it.
- Ask a lawyer or notary to draft it and confirm its contents with you. You would then sign it.
What does it cost?
If you and your ex decide to write up the agreement yourselves, it’s free.
If you ask a lawyer or a notary to draft the agreement, you’ll have to pay their professional fees. You should ask about their fees before deciding, since such fees can vary.
In some situations, you must obtain a judgment
In some situations, the law requires that you have the agreements reached in family mediation form part of a court judgment so they can be recognized by certain institutions. This is the case:
- To obtain a divorce,
- To obtain a legal separation (also known as “separation from bed and board”),
- If you would like Revenu Québec to collect child support payments from your ex,
- If you would like to have a retirement plan divided.
How to do it?
You can draw up an “application for homologation” of your agreement. This is submitted to a court to approve your agreement and give it the legal force of a judgement.
A lawyer or notary can inform you about the steps involved.
What does it cost?
You’ll need to pay court fees and the professional fees of the lawyer or notary consulted. You should ask about their fees before deciding, since such fees can vary.
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The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.
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