Mediation at the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center

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Alternative Dispute Resolution can be a helpful way to handle conflict between two parties in a disagreement. It's often a good and less expensive alternative to hiring an attorney and taking your case to court.  The Harris County Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), which is sponsored by the Houston Bar Association and funded through the Harris County Courts System, offers mediation for general disputes, divorce, and active civil cases, free of charge to Harris County residents. (For examples of the kinds of disputes handled in each category, please refer to the list at left.)

Mediation for general disputes typically involves money, automobiles, landlord/tenant issues, or property damage. The DRC mediation program for general disputes is for resolving disagreements before a lawsuit is filed.

Divorce mediation is for all issues related to divorce either before or after a suit is filed. Child custody, child support, and visitation can be addressed through mediation, along with related family law matters such as property division, common law separations, and LGBT divorce issues. 

For mediation in active civil cases, the DRC can only mediate for parties with a court pleading or disputed dollar amount of $100,000 or less. Also, the Dispute Resolution Center does not mediate suits involving more than three named parties.

Other types of disputes that can be resolved through mediation typically involve Children’s Protective Services, juveniles, special education, or truancy. To speak with a Case Manager and request mediation for any of the issues mentioned above, please contact the Dispute Resolution Center at 713-755-8274 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) or email email@drchouston.org and briefly explain the nature of your dispute.

Houston Bar Association & Houston Volunteer Lawyers Help the Community

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June marked the end of the Houston Bar Association's calendar of activities. Looking back, it's clear to see that the HBA was quite active indeed, providing valuable service to HBA members, the profession, and the public. 

Houston Volunteer Lawyers provided in-person, one-on-one legal advice to more than 6,100 applicants at no expense to those served. Nearly 1,200 cases were referred to pro bono attorneys for long-term representation. Over 2,300 of those helped were U.S. veterans or spouses of deceased veterans.

HVL also assisted 6,561 pro se litigants with family law matters at the courthouse information both on the 17th floor of the Civil Courthouse, and expanded the pro se clinic to the Harris County Law Library where attorneys now meet with self-represented litigants five days a week from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon on a first come-first served basis. 

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More than 700 LegalLine volunteers answered 5,386 calls from residents of Harris County, and the Houston Lawyer Referral service made over 26,000 referrals to attorneys and other agencies. 

These are just a few of HBA's achievements over the last twelve months. Additional successes of the previous year are detailed in the May/June 2017 issue of the Houston Lawyer magazine. See page six for President Neil Kelly's message where he reflects on the HBA's service to its members, its initiatives in educating the public about the law, and its efforts to help the residents of Harris County.