Opting to resolve your Fort Smith contract dispute through mediation may be a more effective means of finding a solution. Although mediation is not as formal as the court process, it can be relatively structured based on the needs and desires of the participants to the dispute. There are typically six separate stages in the mediation process, although specifics will depend on what you outline to your Fort Smith mediator that you will have to choose at the outset.
Usually, contract mediation will kick off with an opening statement from the mediator. This will involve introductions, explanations of rules, and an overview about the importance of cooperation in the mediation process. Each party will then be given the opportunity to present an opening statement. This involves explaining in your own words the root of the dispute and how you have been affected by it. It’s a good idea to wrap up your opening statement with possible suggestions about how to resolve the dispute.
Depending on your level of tension in the needs of the parties, the mediator may suggest that a joint discussion follow the opening statements. This can be helpful for having each party talk directly about what was mentioned during the opening statements and to clarify what issues need to be addressed during the process of mediation.
At this stage, the mediator may suggest splitting up into private caucuses or working together in joint negotiation. In some circumstances, it may be possible to resolve the dispute at the same table. However, it’s more common that each party will meet with the mediator privately, allowing the mediator to shuttle back and forth with possible suggestions for resolution. After private caucuses, the parties may join together for joint negotiation. The final stage of contract mediation is the closing process wherein the parties have two choices: sign a settlement agreement or seek another avenue for a resolution.