If you own a business, two of your top priorities will likely be saving money and protecting your company from unnecessary conflict. Unfortunately, these priorities can come under fire if you become involved in a dispute.

When legal challenges arise between a business owner and partners, shareholders, employees or customers, they can wind up costing the company considerable time, resources and money. However, there are ways to minimize these costs. One option is to avoid litigation.

Why avoid litigation?

Going to court and making a case in front of a judge or jury may seem like the best way to resolve a business dispute. However, this process can be expensive. There are added legal costs, especially when there are expert witnesses and lengthy discovery involved.

Going to court can take a lot of time, as well. Parties are subject to the court’s schedule, and any delays or additional motions can push the resolution date even further.

During this process, businesses can struggle with the financial demands of the case, and valuable resources may be diverted until it is resolved. It can also invite unwelcome attention from the public which can take a toll on a business’ reputation and image.

What are the alternatives?

That said, parties often opt to avoid litigation and the courtroom. They can do this in a number of ways, but two of the most common methods are arbitration and mediation.

In arbitration, parties work with attorneys to submit their disputes to an arbitrator, who is a neutral third party. It is a less formal setting than a courtroom, and parties select their arbitrator or panel. The decision made by this party is binding.

Mediation is method of cooperative dispute resolution. Feuding parties work together to reach a resolution with the help of a mediator, who is a neutral third party tasked with facilitating communication between the parties. This can be a good option when the parties involved wish to continue a positive relationship.

Finding the right solution for you

The best method of resolving a dispute depends on numerous factors specific to an individual situation. As such, it can be wise to consult an attorney to determine which might be the right solution for your case.