Illinois business owners like you get to enjoy the boons of having a business. Unfortunately, you must also handle the downsides, like the possibility of contract disputes.
You must also handle the logistics tied to a dispute. How do you get out of it? Can you preserve your assets? What about your business relations; are they salvageable? To this end, you must know what your dispute resolution methods are so you can make a well-informed choice.
Mediation and arbitration
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, examines the difference between arbitration and mediation. These options exist as counterpoints to litigation. Mediation provides the most freedom for you and your partners to work things out on your own. A mediator is only there to guide you, make space for all voices and offer suggestions where necessary. They do not decide how to solve your dispute for you, nor is their word law.
Arbitration is a halfway point between mediation and litigation. It offers a little more flexibility than litigation. It is also less costly and time-consuming because you do not need a whole court proceeding. However, the decision an arbitrator makes on your case is still a legally binding one. This takes some of the stress of decision-making out of your hands.
And what is litigation, then? This is what you think of when you think of traditional court cases. You go to court and a judge oversees your case, making a final decision after listening to every party. This option is both expensive and time-consuming. On top of that, your case is public record, too. As such, this option may be best if you are dealing with a vitriolic dispute or high assets.