Using Mediation to Prevent Conflicts in Arizona When Forming Agreements

Many agreements between friends, partners and family are sealed with only a handshake.  For example, people enter agreements to buy property, start a business, share a timeshare or boat or even to share living expenses.  No matter how informal, these agreements constitute the formation of a business relationship with potentially serious legal consequences.

The failure to discuss details of a business relationship and commit the agreement to writing is a recipe for disaster.  At some point, most such business relationships come to an end.  Without a clear agreement at the beginning of the venture, there is a significant likelihood of conflict at the end of the venture.

First, there may simply be a misunderstanding of how the dissolution of the relationship would unwind, leading to conflict.  Second, the parties may not have considered all of the consequences of the dissolution before it is too late to take appropriate protective measures.  Third, one party may actually take advantage of the lack of a written agreement.  While oral contracts are enforceable in many situations, they are notoriously hard to prove.

It makes sense to create a binding written contract before the formation of the business/agreement.  Rather than do that through an adversarial process (both parties getting attorneys to send drafts of agreements back and forth to each other), the parties should consider mediation.

Business Mediation in Arizona is a confidential, amicable process where a neutral party trained in conflict resolution helps the parties reach agreements.  Mediation is highly successful at helping parties reach agreements to prevent and resolve conflicts.  The parties can leave mediation with a binding agreement, including fully effective Operating Agreements (for businesses).

As Benjamin Franklin once said:  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  A mediated agreement is that ounce of prevention.  And what if you failed to invest in that ounce of prevention and now you are in conflict?  Yep – mediation is good for that too.

Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona(at)  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

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Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E Butherus Dr, Suite #7 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 998-1500