Are written agreements binding in Family Court?

Mediation is mandatory in all contested Family Court cases in South Carolina.  As a result of mediation, parties often enter into written agreements, which are binding on the parties pursuant to Rule 43 (k) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.  Rarely, a party will try to back out of or try to alter an agreement after the signing of the agreement but before the hearing on the agreement.  This typically causes significant distress to the party seeking to keep the agreement as agreed.   However, the Court can enforce the agreement over the objection of the party.

The written agreements, signed by both parties and their attorneys, are binding.  The most recent case so stating was filed by the South Carolina Court of Appeals on March 6, 2019: https://www.sccourts.org/opinions/HTMLFiles/COA/5632.pdf?utm_source=SC+Lawyers&utm_campaign=592a6cb3f9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_03_11_01_44&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6aea79e27a-592a6cb3f9-222254613

While this is not a Family Court case, it is addressing the same rule.  And the message is clear.  Be careful what you sign!  It is binding if it meets the Rule 43(k) criteria.

This does not mean that the handwritten, self-drafted agreements, even if notarized, are binding on parties.  However, I still advise clients to never sign anything without first getting the advice of experienced legal counsel.

If you need help with a Family Court matter in Anderson County, South Carolina, email me at mj@mjgoodwin.com

Every effort is made to respond to emails within 12 hours of their receipt.   MJ Goodwin has been practicing law in Anderson, South Carolina since 1991.  Put 27 years of experience to work for you!

 

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