You will likely experience a contract dispute in Florida if you are a business owner. While contract disputes can be complex and frustrating, there are ways to resolve them without going to court. One such way is mediation, and the other is arbitration.
This blog post will cover the use of both in ADR in Florida. So let’s start without wasting any time.
Mediation: What Is This? What is the procedure in Florida?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps the parties involved in the dispute agree. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties or force them to agree but facilitates communication and helps them identify common ground to resolve.
There are many benefits to resolving contract disputes through mediation. Mediation is usually faster and cheaper than going to court, and both sides can still have a say in resolving their dispute. Also, mediation can help keep relationships between the people involved, which is essential if you regularly do business with the other person.
How do Florida’s laws affect mediation?
Florida’s mediation laws are based on the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA). The UMA is a model law that has been adopted in many states. It sets out the basic requirements for mediation and how it should be conducted.
Under the UMA, mediation is voluntary. This means that both sides have to agree to participate for mediation to take place. The mediator cannot force the parties to agree.
The UMA says that the mediator must be impartial. This means that the mediator cannot take sides and must remain neutral throughout the process.
An Important Thing!
An important thing to note is that even though participation in mediation is mandatory, anything said during mediation cannot be used as evidence in court if you cannot reach a settlement and have to go to trial. Instead, it allows couples to freely speak openly and candidly during mediation without fear that what they say will be used against them later.
Confidentiality is also essential in mediation because it encourages people to participate actively.
If either party breaches confidentiality, the mediator can terminate the mediation.
Suppose you are considering mediation as an alternative to traditional litigation. In that case, you should talk to a lawyer who knows Florida law to find out what your rights and responsibilities are.
Understanding Arbitration in Florida
Arbitration is a type of ADR used to settle disputes outside of court. In arbitration, both sides present their case to an arbitrator, who decides the result of the dispute.
Let’s deeply understand arbitration and its uses.
For parties to be eligible for arbitration in Florida, they must agree to arbitration in writing. This agreement can be in the form of a contract or part of a court order.
Once both sides agree to go to arbitration, they choose an arbitrator or a group of arbitrators. The next step is to schedule a hearing date and exchange information and evidence that each party intends to use at the hearing.
On the day of the hearing, each party will have an opportunity to present their case and call witnesses. The arbitrator(s) will render a binding decision for both parties.
The costs of arbitration vary depending on the dispute’s complexity and the hearing’s length.
Each party is typically responsible for paying its attorneys’ fees and costs. The parties may also agree to split the cost of the arbitrator’s fees evenly between them.
If either party fails to comply with the terms of the arbitrator’s award, the other party can file a petition to enforce the award with the clerk of court in the county where the arbitration took place.
Either party has 30 days from the date they are served with a copy of the arbitrator’s award to file a notice of appeal with the court clerk. As a result, an appeal must be based on one or more of the reasons listed in Reasons to Use Mediation in Florida.
If you find yourself in a contract dispute, here are four tips for using mediation to resolve the issue:
- Hire A Qualified Mediator
The first step to using mediation to settle a contract dispute is to find a qualified mediator. You want to ensure that the person you hire has a lot of experience mediating contract disputes and has previously solved similar cases. For example, you can ask your attorney for recommendations or search for qualified mediators online. Once you have found a few potential candidates, be sure to schedule a consultation so that you can learn more about their experience and qualifications.
- Prepare For The Mediation Session
Once you have hired a mediator, it is time to start preparing for the mediation session.
- Gather all of the relevant documents related to your case. It includes any correspondence between you and the other party and any contracts or agreements in the dispute.
- It is also helpful to prepare a summary of your position so that you can clearly articulate your goals for mediation.
- Ensure you know what outcome would be acceptable to you and what outcome would be unacceptable.
- It will help you determine whether or not an agreement reached in mediation is fair.
- Be Open To Compromise
One of the most important things to remember during mediation is that compromise is vital. You will only sometimes get everything you want, but mediation is successful if both sides can walk away from the table feeling like they got something out of the deal. It is important to remember that the goal of mediation is not necessarily to win but rather to reach an acceptable agreement for both sides.
- Following Up After The Mediation Session
Once an agreement has been reached in mediation, it is essential to follow up with the other party and put everything in writing. This written agreement should have all the terms and deadlines agreed upon during mediation. Once both parties have signed off on the agreement, it will be binding and enforceable in court, if necessary.
Contact JOSEPH P. FARINA For your Mediation and Arbitration Needs
If you are in a contract dispute, contact Joseph P. Farina. Joseph P. Farina is an experienced mediator and arbitrator who can help you resolve your dispute quickly and amicably. He used to be the Chief Judge, so he knows a lot about the law and can significantly help settle disputes. He will hear both sides of the argument and try to devise a solution that everyone is happy with.
Contact us immediately to set up a meeting so we can discuss your options for settling the dispute and help you choose the best one.
We are the civil mediators in Florida you can trust. With our experienced legal team and comprehensive approach, we will work with you to find a solution that meets your needs. We understand that contract disputes can be stressful and confusing, but with our help, you can rest assured knowing that we are on your side every step of the way.Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the benefits of arbitration or mediation?
Arbitration and mediation are ways to settle contract disputes without going to court.
Can a mediator help me resolve a contract dispute?
Yes, a mediator can help you resolve a contract dispute. A trained mediator can give both sides unbiased advice and help them reach an agreement that is fair for everyone.
What should I do if I’m in a contract dispute?
If you’re in a contract dispute, the best thing to do is hire a qualified mediator or arbitrator to help you resolve the dispute. Make sure to do a lot of research on potential mediators and ensure they have the experience and skills to handle your case.
If I go to arbitration, will the decision be binding?
Yes, an arbitration decision is final and can be enforced in court if needed.
If I go to mediation, what happens if we disagree?
If you can’t agree during mediation, the mediator may suggest other ways to solve the problem, like arbitration or going to court.
The mediator will keep working to help both sides find a fair and good solution for everyone.
No matter the dispute, Joseph P. Farina can give you experienced legal advice and, if necessary, stand up for your rights in court. Contact us today!