Disputes between parties to a contract or business relationship can have some very overwhelming obstacles. Mediating these situations can help the individuals agree on a satisfactory settlement that addresses the actual grievance within the bounds of each party’s capabilities. Often, simple misunderstandings result in mistrust, and even the belief that the other party acted in bad faith when, in fact, that may not be the case. An impartial mediator can help create a calm setting, unlike the confrontational litigation process, which creates an antagonistic atmosphere. Choosing to use a mediator to resolve these types of disputes will allow the parties involved the ability to identify the events that led up to the dispute or misunderstandings in a neutral environment, leading to a healthier and more pleasant resolution.
Real Estate Mediation
Although mediation has been mandatory in some aspects for quite some time, the use of mediation to resolve real estate disputes has only recently grown in popularity. California passed legislation in 1993 stating that disputes concerning common interest developments, such as condominiums, must be submitted to mediation before litigation can commence. Most California real estate purchase agreements now contain a mandatory mediation clause, but these are only a fraction of the issues that can arise where real estate is involved.
Disputes between lenders and borrowers regarding foreclosures are increasingly being mediated. Real estate disputes can often involve parties other than the buyer and the seller. These may involve the seller's agent, the buyer's agent, their brokers, the pest control inspector, the property inspector, the title company, an escrow company, the building inspector, contractors, attorneys and more.
Other real estate disputes would be those between a landlord and a tenant, a real estate broker and an agent, or a builder and architect and their client. The possibilities for a dispute to arise in the real estate field are numerous, as are the benefits of using a seasoned mediator with a substantial background in this field.
Mediating disputes between business partners can be very similar to family law matters. Here again, hopes and dreams and the livelihood of families are involved. Emotions can run high and angers flare if the issues are not brought into perspective. As time goes by, the objectives set out by the partnership may no longer serve the evolving objectives of the individuals and their families. Unlike family law cases, with partnership cases a skillful mediator can often structure a settlement that allows the parties to reestablish a working relationship. Barry Brandt has been particularly successful in helping the parties of a partnership to reach a new cooperative accord.
Business partnerships may need to reset expectations from time to time as conditions change. Perhaps partners may not wish to contribute as much time to the enterprise as they initially committed to, or roles of the partners may have changed over time. In such cases, the compensation structure may no longer make sense and adjustments are in order. An experienced mediator may be able to assist the partners with matters such as this. Mediation can help gain the perspective necessary to restructure the partnership and help revive the business venture with an updated objective and structure. Where there is a broken trust, the partners may find there is no alternative other than to disband the partnership. In either case, the mediator can guide the parties to a settlement before the values dissolve that they have built together.