Working Towards a Resolution Mediation and Avoiding the Costly Lawsuit

 Sometimes in the heat of the moment, when disagreements are at their worst, the  possibility of solving a problem without going to court seems remote at best.  Arguments may have been brewing for days or weeks with each side becoming more  and more entrenched in their own rationale and reasoning. Lines may have been  drawn in the sand and threats of litigation hurled with reckless abandon.  

 Even when tensions are high and feelings have been hurt, however, there is a  solution: alternative dispute resolution, which most frequently encompasses  either arbitration or mediation. The difference between the two, says Jill S.  Tanz, JD, of Chicago Mediation LLC, is that “arbitration is normally a binding process where both parties expect a decision.  Mediation is non-binding and voluntary.”  

 Charles Castagna of the Clearwater, Florida-based firm Charles N. Castagna  Mediation, Inc., adds, “Arbitration is more of an adversarial process. The arbitrator makes a decision  while the mediator does not. With mediation, the parties have an option to  disagree and say no, I don’t think I want to do that.”  

 Arbitration can almost be thought of as a mini trial, and most of the time,  Castagna says, those sides “are able to come to an agreement.”  

 How Did We Get Here?

 Just about anything can lead to the need for arbitration or mediation. The most  common reasons are breaking the rules and/or violating a covenant of the  association. Next, you find disputes over public records, access to association  files and financial records, and lastly, the bylaws.  

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