Alternative dispute resolution works for business disputes

If you're running a business, there's a chance you've run into disputes in the past and may do so again in the future. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your disputes out of court, so you can save time and money.

Keeping on good terms with your neighbors is key to success, especially in cities where space is limited. It may not be surprising that not everyone gets along. In fact, in the United States, corporations pay upwards of $20 billion each year to litigation attorneys. The indirect costs are even higher.

What's an alternative to turning to court for a dispute?

Instead of going through the trouble of a trial, consider alternative dispute resolution. This is a process in which you and the other party come together to resolve the issue outside court. Depending on your preferences and how well you can negotiate, you may choose mediation or arbitration as an alternative way to resolve your issues.

With mediation, you and the other party come together to talk out your problems. Your attorneys may be present, but a third party who works for neither party is vital. This person helps both parties understand the law while guiding them to a reasonable solution to the issue.

If that's not good enough and the two parties can't agree to talk, arbitration is a better bet. Both sides present their arguments to an arbitrator who listens to the stories while considering the law. At the end, the arbitrator makes a decision about what should happen. At that point, the arbitrator's findings may be legally binding, depending on the type of arbitration used.

Mediation and arbitration both have the potential to help you resolve business disputes and to come out with a better understanding of how to handle disputes in the future.