Wednesday, December 07, 2005

“If You Don’t Sign This Post-Nuptial Agreement, I’ll Divorce You!”

Or, to put it another way, “if you really love me, you’ll sign!”

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Rule 10.420[b][4] Conduct of Mediation, Adjournment or Termination, provides, in part, that a mediator shall “terminate a mediation entailing fraud, duress, the absence of bargaining ability, or unconscionability. . . .”

In Zoldan v. Zohlman, 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 18798 [Fla. 3rd DCA 2005], the Third District Court of Appeal reversed a final judgment declaring a post-nuptial agreement to be invalid because of undue influence. The court held that “mere affection and attachment or a desire to gratify the wishes of one who is esteemed or trusted may not alone be sufficient to amount to undue influence.”

Although this did not involve a mediation conference, the principle is illustrative of what a mediator should think about when considering termination under the above rule.

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