If you decide to name a mediator to help you resolve a dispute, here are a few tips that are vital.
- Once the parties to a dispute have had an opportunity to present their sides to each other and to the mediator; list their interests and explore those interests they share in common, much of the time you will spend involves a process known as ‘brainstorming’.
- ‘Brainstorming’ is a common sense process that is designed to help you pick and choose the practical, sequential steps that will help you resolve the dispute.
- For example, if you are involved in a debt collection dispute and both sides want to resolve the disagreement but don’t know how to proceed, your first step should involve a detailed discussion of the debtor’s current cash flow. Let’s assume that the debt is $50,000.00 and the debtor can afford to make a partial payment of $30,000.00 in two weeks but is uncertain as to when he can pay the balance, the place to start is with an examination of the debtor’s finances. You might ask the debtor to provide you with a 30/60/90 and 120 day list of his accounts receivables [AR] and his accounts payable [AP] and ask him to realistically time each.
- If the debtor is absolutely confident that his receivables over the next 60 days are more than sufficient to cover the balance he owes [ie. $20,000.00] and his current accounts payable, it would be reasonable to structure a settlement based on the debtor paying the balance no later than two weeks after the latest date he expects to have collected his receivables. It is always safer to ask for a promise of performance that gives the debtor the time he needs than to rush him into settlement and be disappointed should he need an extension.
- If the payment time frame is longer than you would prefer, you might ask for a higher rate of interest the longer it takes for him to pay off the outstanding balance. In addition, you might consider waiving any interest for the first month in order to give the debtor some incentive to pay early.