In America, contracts are simply a way of life. Business owners make them to protect themselves from problems. For example, a good contract with another business could guarantee deliveries at a certain time. A contract with employees could make sure they don't share important information with competitors.
When a contract goes south, problems can emerges. It's not unusual for a party to do something that breaches a contract, and when that happens, it could mean a lawsuit. However, most contract disputes can be addressed without going to court. Two possible options include mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is typically less expensive than a lawsuit and allows both parties to find an agreement they're both happy with. A third-party mediator listens to what both parties have to say and then guides them to a favorable resolution. In mediation, the mediator does not tell you what to do. He or she educates you on law and helps you understand the possible ways you could resolve your case.
The one catch with mediation is that the majority of mediation cases are not legally binding. It's possible to come to a resolution only to have the other party not go through with it. This is uncommon but possible, so it's something to keep in mind. It's a good idea to sign any legal documents during the mediation session. Your attorneys can come to help resolve the case then and there.
If you can't work with the other party to come to a resolution, you may want to consider arbitration. Arbitration uses an arbitrator or judge to determine a final outcome. This person listens to both parties, similar to the format of a trial. After hearing what happened and studying the facts of the case, the arbitrator then determines what will happen next. Unlike mediation, arbitration is legally binding.
In the event that neither of these work out for you, pursuing a claim through a court is possible. Normally, a lawsuit takes longer to pursue in the court and is more expensive. However, if no other resolutions are possible, it is a way to address a contract dispute and have a ruling made for your case. Your attorney will be able to negotiate and defend your claim, helping you pursue a beneficial resolution for the case.