Boundary disputes can be highly damaging; failing to reach an amicable resolution could result in decreased property value and ruinous personal relationships.
Property boundary disputes may be resolved amicably with open communication and negotiation with neighbors; if those methods prove unsuccessful, legal intervention may be required to settle disputes.
Negotiation is a widely recognized approach to conflict resolution that can be employed at both individual, institutional and national levels in various settings.
Negotiations is always an attempt at reaching an acceptable compromise, which in the case of boundary disputes can save relationships while decreasing litigation expenses and costs. If successful negotiations take place they can prevent litigation costs from increasing too quickly and needlessly.
Successful negotiations require striking an optimal balance of interests, being attuned to the needs and concerns of both parties, and possessing knowledge of negotiation strategies. A structured learning opportunity or reading books about this subject can help develop these skills. When emotional issues become an obstacle during negotiations, separating people from problems by exploring underlying interests rather than dwelling on positions is helpful; using objective criteria such as moral standards or tradition as discussion guides may also prove effective.
Mediation encourages those involved in disputes to sit together in an informal and neutral setting in order to discuss their grievances. By engaging in mediation, individuals often express themselves more objectively than when engaging in hostile litigation and can find relief through proper understanding of their dispute through assistance of a mediator.
Mediation provides parties an opportunity to craft a mutually acceptable settlement on their own. A mediator assists this process by asking questions, reframing issues, helping parties understand each other better and encouraging creativity when exploring options. Mediation tends to be less formal than court hearings and participants tend to be happier with the result of mediation than court cases.
As part of their mediation role, mediators often meet all parties involved (and their lawyers) for an initial session with all involved. Thereafter, private meetings often take place with the mediator before any settlement agreement can be drafted by him/her and signed off on by all parties involved.
Whenever negotiations and mediation fail to resolve a dispute, arbitration can provide another method for resolution. Arbitration is a non-binding hearing wherein both parties participate to establish their rights and obligations; unlike courtroom litigation it provides more private, expedited resolution with flexible rules agreed to between all involved.
Arbitrators may order parties or witnesses to produce documentary evidence and can enforce his request with subpoenas. An arbitration hearing typically starts with brief statements by each side (or their attorneys), before each side presents evidence and the arbitrator can question witnesses and cross-examine them as needed before eventually issuing written decisions at the conclusion of each hearing session.
Parties can appeal the decision of an arbitrator by filing a court complaint within 30 days after receiving it and scheduling a new Case Management Conference date with the court.
4. Courtroom litigation
If a party cannot resolve their dispute through alternative means, legal action may become necessary to do so. Such legal proceedings typically include filing a lawsuit which can then lead to trial proceedings before either a judge or jury.
Plaintiffs begin court proceedings by filing and serving a complaint on the defendant. The complaint details what transpired between them and details how their actions have caused harm to the plaintiff, with them seeking both monetary compensation for their injuries as well as legal remedies such as an injunction order from court.
When served with a complaint, defendants have limited time to file an answer that either admits or denies its allegations. Both sides exchange information through discovery which may take months or years before proceeding to trial with opening statements, closing statements, witness testimony and cross-examination before being judged by a jury for final ruling; should their verdict not go their way they may choose to appeal the judgment.