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4 tips for avoiding court during a dispute

The reality of any situation is that there is always a chance that it won't work out the way you want. Many times, disputes require you to negotiate to resolve them, even though it's your preference to have a particular outcome.

If you want to avoid court, you may need to be willing to negotiate over whatever dispute it is that you're having. Here are four things you can do to keep your dispute out of court and save yourself time and energy.

1. Consider arbitration

Arbitration is a situation in which you and your attorney present your case to a judge or arbitrator. The other side does as well, but in the end, the arbitrator makes a binding decision based on your presentation of evidence and claims.

2. Think about mediation

Mediation is not binding but is typically less expensive than negotiating through your attorneys or going to trial. Through mediation, you and the other part come together to talk through your problems with a third, neutral party. The mediator's job is to guide you to a resolution you can both agree with.

3. Negotiate through your attorneys

Another option is to negotiate strictly through your attorneys. They can talk through negotiations and come back to you with the other party's thoughts and their opinions as professionals. This is often more expensive because of using the attorney's time, but it can be a good way to resolve a problem if you and the other party cannot meet face-to-face.

4. Consider a minitrial

A minitrial is just that. It's a hybrid situation involving mediation, settlement negotiation and adjudication. With this technique, two executives (often not the direct individuals involved with the dispute), meet with a judge to discuss the case. Each person presents the case as a neutral observer, and the judge makes a ruling. It's not binding, but it does give both sides an idea of what would happen if they did go to trial.

In any case where there is a dispute, there are always multiple ways to address the dispute and come up with a resolution. These are four possible options that don't include trial or a rent-a-judge program. You may wish to speak with your attorney or even the other party involved in the dispute about the way they'd like to see the case resolved and if any of these processes would work for them.

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