Written agreements are par for the course for Kansas business owners. Whether you are signing contracts with employees, business partners, contractors or other entities, you understand that, once all signatures are in the document, a contract becomes legally enforceable. If contract disputes arise, it can cause project delays and a host of other problems — sometimes bringing an entire business to a screeching halt.
It’s a good idea to learn about various ways to resolve contract disputes. It’s always best for everyone involved to resolve a disagreement swiftly and amicably, although that’s not always possible. This is why it’s also good to know how to enlist outside support to help resolve a contract problem.
Mediation helps resolve contract disputes
If your goal is to stay out of a courtroom and to peacefully discuss your way to a contract dispute solution, mediation might be the best option available. This alternative form of dispute resolution involves an agreement between parties to meet for discussion sessions. During these sessions, the goal is to negotiate a fair and agreeable solution to the problem, while avoiding confrontation.
Arbitration is like mediation yet different
The arbitration process is similar to both mediation and another form of dispute resolution, which is litigation. Some people might consider it an “in between” version of the two. Whereas the atmosphere of mediation is more relaxed, arbitration is a more formal setting. One person can serve as an arbitrator (like a judge), or several people may act as a panel of judges.
Once the judge has made a ruling, the decision is legally binding. Arbitration functions like litigation in that one presents a case for a judge to review and rule upon. It’s typically a less expensive process. Another difference between the two is that you can appeal a litigation ruling but cannot appeal an arbitration decision.
Litigation is sometimes necessary to achieve fair solutions to contract disputes
When a business dispute goes to court, litigation takes place. If you are litigating a contract dispute, there will be a judge or, possibly, a jury. There are strict rules regarding how to conduct a trial. With arbitration, the parties involved choose their own arbitrator or panel. With litigation, the court appoints a judge to oversee a particular case.
One type of contract dispute resolution is not necessarily better than another; however, one type might be a better fit for your specific needs than another. Determining which route to take — mediation, arbitration or litigation — is one step closer to solving your business problems. It’s also wise to seek additional counsel before heading to court or other dispute resolution sessions.