What happens if my spouse doesn’t follow our mediated agreement?

A valid divorce agreement that is the result of the divorce mediation process is legally binding in all the same ways as an agreement that is the product of litigation. Accordingly, once a mediated divorce agreement has been finalized and approved by a judge, a spouse who fails to comply with the terms of the agreement may be subject to a contempt action. The contempt powers of Probate and Family Court judges are broad, and violations can result in anything from financial sanctions to the loss of parenting time to incarceration.

However, enforcement problems tend to be rarer for divorce agreements that are the result of mediation compared to agreements that are the product of litigation. This is because mediated divorce agreements represent terms that both spouses agreed upon cooperatively, during the mediation process, while litigated agreements often arise out of coercive pressure that arises from the adversarial nature of a contested divorce.