Being able to handle any legal conflict starts with the same process. The point of a contract is to lay out the steps that will be required by both parties. Here are some ways to professionally handle a contract dispute.
Discuss the Situation
The first place to start is to discuss the situation with the other party. They may be unaware that there is a problem. Lay out the issue for them. This can save you both the trouble of having to take this issue any further. Bring the contract with you to this discussion. Show them the points that are of concern to you. Talking over any conflict can make the issue more manageable. You don’t want to ruin the working relationship that you have with this person or company.
Start Your Documentation Trail
Document all conversations and communications that you have in regards to the issue. This can help if you need to get your commercial litigation attorney involved. Proving your point will help you to resolve your dispute. Make sure to provide dates and times on your documentation. Consider asking other people to provide you with statements in order to back up your claims. If this dispute needs to be taken to court, you will need all of this documentation.
Go to a Mediator
A mediator is a neutral third party that can help you come to an agreement. They can see the issue from an outside perspective. This may be the best course of action to show the other party that you’re serious about taking the issue forward. Depending on the mediator that you select, the decision is not likely to be legally binding. There are outside mediation facilities that just act as a neutral place to help resolve the dispute. If this step fails, you may need to enter arbitration or go to court.
Arbitration is just another venue to resolving your dispute without having to enter a courtroom. This is a less threatening environment to help with resolution. The decisions that are made in arbitration are still legally binding for both parties. A third party who is appointed by the court will be the one making the decision. You have to prove your case to this person just as you would to a judge. Make sure to come prepared to arbitration with all of your documentation.
Conflict is inevitable when you’re working with people. The key is to handle it in a professional manner so that you don’t damage your working relationship.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.