ADR

Litigation is costly for individuals and business entities. It can also permanently harm long standing personal and business relationships. When negotiations have failed to resolve your dispute, resorting to alternative forms of dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration may save money and your salvage some of your relationship.

Negotiation

Direct negotiations with the other party is the cheapest way to resolve issues. When direct communication is not possible, negotiations can take place between the parties’ attorneys. Though negotiating through counsel is more costly than direct communication, it can help resolve some or all issues to the satisfaction of both parties without the need for more expensive litigation. Any issues that remain unresolved can be submitted for resolution in one of the other forms of ADR or taken to trial to be decided by the judge. To discuss how effective negotiations can expedite a resolution of your matter, contact Blehm Law.

Settlement Conferences

Though not binding, Arizona family law courts generally require parties to attend at least one settlement conference. The goal is to see if the parties can reach an agreement on some or all of the issues presented. Though the judge cannot compel the parties to reach an agreement, the judge will see if a party is taking unreasonable positions and/or not participating in good faith. For this reason, it is important to be prepared to attend the settlement conference in good faith and to make a reasonable effort to resolve some or all issues. As with the other forms of ADR, reaching agreement on at least some issues at the settlement conference will narrow the issues to be tried and reduce the cost of pre-trial discovery and trial. Contact Blehm Law to learn more about settlement conferences.

Mediation

Mediation is an informal and confidential process designed to help individuals and businesses privately resolve their disputes in a confidential manner. It does not matter if your issue involves a contract, lease, dispute between neighbors, or child custody, mediation can be used to help resolve your dispute. The mediator does not pass judgment or decide who is right and who is wrong. Rather, the mediator will help the parties find their own solution to their problem. The greatest benefit to mediation is that it provides the parties a forum in which they can resolve their differences in an amicable and friendly manner and in a way that meets their own unique needs. Disputes can also be resolved quicker through mediation than litigation and can help avert the need to resort to costly discovery and motion practice associated with litigation. At the close of the mediation, any written agreement executed by the parties is a binding agreement enforceable as a contract. The decision to mediate of course is completely voluntary so if the other party does not agree to mediate, you may have no choice but to resort to litigation.

Arbitration

Arbitration is more formal than mediation so the parties will generally follow a truncated process similar to civil litigation in court. Although parties to a private dispute can elect to arbitrate their dispute, in many circumstances arbitration is compelled. Many contracts require the parties to submit to binding arbitration, meaning the losing party has little chance of litigating the matter in a court of law. To do so, the losing party will need to show some form of adhesion or unconscionable contract. Arbitration is also compelled by courts as a tool to reduce costs. In Arizona, all civil cases with a value under $50,000 are required to submit to non-binding arbitration. If a breach of contract dispute, you may be required to arbitrate according to the rules and procedures spelled out by the American Arbitration Association. To discuss your commercial or personal needs with an attorney, contact Blehm Law.

Other

In addition to ADR, a family law court may appoint a Parenting Coordinator or a Family Law Master to help resolve issues in your case. A Parenting Coordinator helps the court implement the court’s orders and makes recommendations to the court regarding child custody and parenting time orders. A Family Law Master has the power to hear evidence on disputed issues and submit findings of fact and conclusions of law to the court. To discuss your issue with a family law attorney, contact Blehm Law.