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What are other options to resolving contract disputes?

Disputes regarding a contract occur when the parties either don't agree with the way a contract was handled, which either led to one party being harmed or not made whole. In a contract situation, each party to the contract has rights and responsibilities that they need to adhere to in order for the contractual relationship to run smoothly. When this does not happen that's when disputes can run rampant. And once a contract dispute begins, each side tends to become a little stauncher in their positions and a little less amenable to a resolution especially where court involvement is on the horizon.

Everyone knows that the way to resolve issues surrounding a contract is to go to court and to let the court processes play out. That is the way it has been done forever and that is the way that it should be done according to past practice. However, the courts as well as other legal experts are starting to recognize the value in utilizing other less legally intrusive options in contract disputes, specifically mediation and arbitration. Although there are pros and cons to each, they both, in their own right, effective alternatives to traditional court proceedings.

Mediation is the when parties to a dispute come together, willingly and voluntarily, and try to fix the problem and move forward wit the contract. Mediation uses a third-party neutral listens to the issues surrounding the dispute and attempts to guide the parties to a resolution. Mediation is not binding in any way unlike arbitration, a process that is binding. Many people refer to arbitration as mini-trials because it uses some of the same techniques to reach a conclusion. he pitfall of arbitration is that it can get quite costly if there are a number of parties and issues involved.

Arbitration and mediation can also be combined into a hybrid med-arb situation that employs mediation first as a resolution tactic and if that doesn't work moves immediately into arbitration, which has often, proven effective.

No matter what process or method is used to address contract disputes, individuals should educate themselves with the different options. This will ensure that the parties know their rights and are able to act accordingly to protect those rights and their interests.

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