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Dealing with legal things and going to court is not something most people prefer, as depending on the issue, it can be time-consuming and pretty costly. That is why it’s good to know all the options, and if there is a way to reach a decision that works for everyone and avoid going to court, why not use it?
Furthermore, many companies like “ADR Times” offer guidance and negotiation, mediation, and arbitration services without litigation and can be of great help here.
1. Discussion with the other party – negotiation
One of the first solutions that someone can try when it comes to a dispute is negotiation, and it is the least formal among all others. Actually, people use it almost every day, without realizing that, as it is part of every relationship and almost every conversation.
Two sides are discussing the problem directly, without the third party involved, and because of that, it is necessary to be able to communicate. During this process, both sides have the opportunity to express their opinions and different options to solve the problem without going to court.
The biggest issue here is that reaching a solution that works for both parties simply implies reaching a neutral ground, meaning that making certain compromises are a must for both parties.
It is also possible to hire a lawyer who will discuss and try to find the best possible solution with the other’s side lawyer, but in most cases, negotiation is the process that does not involve attorneys.
The biggest reason for that is how costly it can get, and in case everyone agrees that they need to hire attorneys, they will surely charge for such services. There are a few characteristics that we need to describe, which are a crucial part of the negotiation, so you can decide whether it is the best solution for you or not.
The first term we will describe is the offer, and it is something that marks the beginning of every negotiation. It represents the solution to the problem that one side offers to another, and if it is not good enough, the other side can make a counteroffer with changed terms and conditions of the first solution.
People who decide to negotiate without a lawyer should always sign the agreement with the other party saying their negotiations are without prejudice. If both parties reach the agreement, they need to write it down, sign it and send it to the court, which formally represents the end of the negotiation.
Be aware that this process too might take some time, as reaching an agreement where one side seeks compensation and the other one has to pay is never easy, and usually, the ones who seek payment are those who opt for a lawyer.
The thing that makes this process the most effective is that both parties agree on a person that’s neutral and rely on them to make a decision that works for both parties. That person is called an arbitrator and is a much less formal way to reach a decision that suits everyone.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that the person that acts as an arbitrator needs to have high expertise and experience in that type of law and is familiar with the conflict at hand. Of course, before this process starts, both parties must agree whether there is an option of going to court in case one of them or both don’t like a decision.
3. Neutral person’s opinion – mediation
Sometimes two sides cannot find a common solution suitable for both of them but still don’t want to go to the court, so one of the best ideas for them is to find a neutral person to facilitate their discussion.
That person is called a mediator, and their role is to actively participate in the discussion and help both sides to agree on the best possible solution. A mediator can do it by suggesting various solutions and helping both parties express their interest, but it is crucial for them to remain neutral all the time.
For mediators, there are no wrong and right opinions, and they need to help both sides equally to express their thoughts without favoring one of them. Their role is to reduce tension and make the discussion more comfortable for both parties, which is possible only if they are willing to cooperate and find a common solution.
This option is probably the most practical, less costly, and righteous way to agree on a settlement, as both parties will have arguments about why that sum should be higher or lower, but the role of a mediator as an independent third party will help them reach an agreement that works for both parties.
4. Help with a communication – conciliation
There is a time when both parties are not interested in mediator services, can’t find a solution via simple negotiation, but still don’t want to end up in court, and in those situations, the best solution is to choose a conciliator.
Although similar to the mediator, these two processes differ, as in conciliation, the conciliator is not participating actively. Their role is to help both sides communicate without the tension and stress and find a common solution on their own. In general, the role of conciliators is similar to the one of counselors, as their goal is to help reach a righteous decision that works for all parties involved.
5. Collaborative practice
Due to specifics of usual family disputes where the main goal is to find a solution that works equally for everyone involved, this practice is most commonly used here. Now, the biggest difference between the ways mentioned above and this one is that lawyers are present here, as all parties have one.
The role of attorneys is not to represent them entirely but only to act and help in the collaborative process, as they act as both mediators and conciliators in order to avoid any possible conflict. This practice also seeks revelation of all important information from all parties, and the entire communication is pretty open and transparent. For most, this is the best option as it provides fast results.