Dispute Resolution Services
The 1987 ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Act made mediation and five other processes available to Texans. These processes offer people a way to resolve conflicts other than going to court or taking the matter into their own hands. Eighteen DRS centers in Texas offer mediation. The Nueces County Neighborhood Justice Center, Inc., d/b/a Nueces County Dispute Resolution Services, (DRS) opened in 1985 to serve Nueces County. DRS has expanded to also serve San Patricio, Bee and Live Oak counties.
In 1985, the Nueces County Bar Association presented the concept of an alternative dispute resolution center to the Nueces County Commissioners Court. The Court approved the assessment of special court costs, as provided by Art. 2372 a Tx. Civil Statute, to fund such a Center. Since the Center opened in November 1985, DRS has assisted the residents and businesses of Nueces, San Patricio, Bee, and Live Oak Counties to settle a wide variety of disputes. The Center functions as a non-profit 501C (3) organization under the guidance of the Board of Directors and the continued support of the County Commissioners Courts.
Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closes at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, and closes from noon to 1:00 p.m. for lunch. Cases are scheduled approximately two weeks from when the Center accepts the case and receives the completed Request for Mediation. Although the primary focus of DRS is mediation, disputes are screened to determine if mediation is a viable option. Should mediation not be appropriate, the initiating party is referred to another agency or to the courts. Referrals are usually made at intake. Cases are also referred during the course of the mediation if it becomes evident that a relative core issue such a alcohol or drug abuse needs to be addressed.
Mediation allows the disputants to vent their emotions in a safe setting, and gives the disputants control of the resolution. Because mediation is not a trial, the disputants are not bound by laws of the court. Real estate agents, attorneys and other professionals are welcome to attend the mediation with their client.
Dispute Resolution Services has two staff members and many excellent mediators. The mediators are volunteers who represent a cross section of the community. They bring their personal and professional experience into the mediations. All mediators must successfully complete a 40-hour of Mediation Training in the Empowerment Style of Mediation. Mediators must also observe a mediation and participate in three co-mediations. Family mediators must successfully complete an additional 32-hour Family Mediation training. All DRS mediators receive on-going mediation training to keep their skills sharp.
For more information, call the DRS office.