Is mediation and arbitration an option?

When you are dealing with civil litigation, it's important to understand your options as well as your requirements for bringing the case to a court. If you don't understand all of your options and requirements correctly, then you could find yourself losing the case on a technicality, and you might not have any luck with appeals for the same reason.

One thing to decide before you bring a case to court via a lawsuit is whether mediation and arbitration are options you might like to consider. In some cases, mediation might even be required by the contract, and if you attempt to go to court without going through any required mediation process, your case might be thrown out.

One common path for individuals who want to resolve a legal issue but don't want to do so in a court is known as alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. Alternative dispute resolution might be an option if you'd like to keep your legal dispute less public, for example, though ADR processes aren't always strictly confidential.

One type of ADR process is known as arbitration, and it is a formal process that has procedures and rules. The rules aren't quite as strict as those you might encounter via the court, though. Mediation is a less formal process that calls for a third-party to review facts and hear issues regarding the case and then to make a decision.

A third type of ADR is called collaborative law. In this process, both sides work with attorneys to present and negotiate the case, but they work together to try to reach an outcome without going through a court or mediator. Making a decision between ADR and traditional litigation can be difficult, which is why it's a good idea to consult an experienced lawyer about your issue and your options.

Source: Money Crashers, "What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Mediation & Arbitration," Mark Theoharis, accessed May 20, 2016

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