My attorney and I settled our divorce in a mediation, including attorney fees. But California law allows attorneys to refute such agreements, even if signed by all parties if "magic words" are omitted. California Evidence Code §1123 requires that the agreement must be a signed writing and contain language expressing the parties’ intent that the document is admissible or binding, or attorneys can refute any agreement and charge their full billing.
Has anyone had this problem or experienced attorney misconduct in a mediation in California? The CA Legislature is considering changes to the law. But as of now,
"Attorneys participating in mediation will not be held accountable for any incompetent or fraudulent actions during that mediation unless the actions are so extreme as to engender a criminal prosecution against the attorney."
Wrote California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin, in Cassel v. Superior Court, 51 Cal. 4th 113, at 124 (2011).