Lubbock County, Texas

State Of Texas - County Of Lubbock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

I don't know who this other person is referenced in my letter.  Who is it?
            At some point in time (maybe even six months ago) a police report was probably filed and it lists the other party's name.  The District Attorney read the police report and has referred the matter to mediation. 

What if I don't live in Lubbock County?
            Even if you do not live in Lubbock County, you may still be eligible for services.  Call the office so that we may determine which service best fits your needs.

            If you are ordered to mediation and do not live in the area, you may be able to attend the mediation by phone or Skype.

What happens if I don't show up?
            It depends if the mediation is court-ordered or voluntary.  All of the parties involved, including the referral source, receive a report after the mediation occurs about what happened.  If you do not show, it is up to their office to determine what the next step will be, as well as what fees will be assessed.

What happens if the other party does not show up?
            If the other party does not show up, the mediation cannot take place.  However, we will give you a document stating that you did attempt mediation.  If you requested the mediation, it is then your decision as to what your next step will be.

What do I do if the other party does not abide by our agreement?
            Call the office and we will send a report to the presiding official that the terms of the agreement were not met.  That official will determine the next step.

What if I have a restraining order against a party?
            During mediation, the restraining order will not be in effect. However, if the mediator determines it is necessary, we can provide separate rooms for the parties.  Lubbock County Sheriff Officers are available if needed.

What if the other party brings an attorney and I do not have one?
            You do not have to have an attorney to attend a mediation session.  If certain issues require legal guidance, it may be necessary to get representation or legal advice. 

Can I find out when mediation is scheduled so I can serve a warrant?
            Under local rule, no warrant or process may be served on a person while in our office.

What materials can or should I bring to mediation?
            Bring any materials or documents that will help explain your position and allow a resolution to be reached.

Can I bring a friend for moral support?
            You may bring witnesses or any other person for moral support.  However, if they are not a named party in the dispute the mediator may not allow them to be in the room with you.  They will be asked to wait on the first floor of our building until their participation is needed or the mediation is finished.

Who is going to know that I went to mediation?
            The only people that will be notified by our office that you came to mediation are the referring party, the parties and attorneys involved in the dispute, and our staff. 

What is orientation for family cases?
            Orientation is an opportunity for you to learn a little about the mediation process.  It is an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions and to become more prepared for your mediation session.  Family cases can be very involved, so beginning to think about what you want and your needs before mediation is beneficial.

Do I have to go to family orientation?
            Family orientation is voluntary; however, it is highly recommended that you attend to ask questions that you may have before your mediation session.  This may expedite your session and lessen the stress of an already stressful situation.

What is the difference between mediation and an adjudication panel?
            The mediator will help the parties come up with a workable solution to their issue.  An adjudication panel is a 3-person panel that will hear a summary and an explanation of the issues involved.  The panel will make a recommendation and the parties can either accept or reject the recommendation that the panel makes.

Why did you reschedule my mediation date?
            The courts, attorneys, returned mail, bad weather, or if the requested mediator is unavailable may be some reasons why we had to reschedule your mediation.  We will notify the involved parties if your mediation has been canceled or rescheduled.               

What is a parenting plan mediation?
            A parenting plan mediation may be required before a final decision can be made in a divorce matter where minor children are affected.  The mediation will help the parents to come to an agreement on parenting issues, such as conservatorship, rights and duties during possession, visitation, and child support.

What do I do if I know the other party will not show up for mediation?
            You may still show up for mediation.  We will report that the other party did not attend and give you copies of that information.  You may then pursue the matter in another legal setting with that document which states you tried resolving the conflict through mediation.

What if the other party is in jail?
            If one of the parties is incarcerated, we will call the court coordinator from the referring court to verify if a bench warrant will be issued for mediation.  If so, the bailiff will escort the party to mediation.  If a bench warrant will not be issued, we will report that the party cannot be contacted and the mediation will be canceled.

Domestic Relations Office (To top of page)

Do I still have to pay child support even if my ex-spouse will not allow me to visit my child?
            Yes. The divorce decree is very clear about who is responsible for what. Your ex-wife not letting you visit your child is a separate problem, and has nothing to do with whether or not child support should or should not be paid.  We offer mediation to assist parents with access and visitation issues.

Should I stop sending money to the AG's office if my ex-spouse says that he/she does not need it at the time?
            No. You have been ordered by the judge to pay a specific amount, at a specific time to a specific person/place. Only the judge can modify the order and change the conditions of the order.

What if my ex-spouse remarries and does not need the money, do I still have to pay child support?
            Yes.  Until the court order is amended to state that you do not need to continue payment, OR if the order states the conditions under which you can stop payment, you must continue paying.

Can a friend or relative report to the office for me?
            No. You must report to the office as directed by the Community Supervision Officer. The way that you report will be with the approval of the Community Supervision Officer.


Outreach (To top of page)

How can I update my mailing address information?
            Send an E-mail to with your updated information.
How can I set up an interview with a staff member or mediator?
            Call our office at 1-866-329-3522 and ask for the Director.

How can I arrange for a staff member to make a speech or presentation?
            Call our office at 1-866-329-3522 and ask for the Director.

How can I join the Dispute Resolution Advisory Board?
            The Advisory Board and various other advisory committee members are selected on annually or by participatory counties.  If you are interested in serving, please contact the Director at 1-866-329-3522.  Attendance at monthly meetings is required.


USDA Mediation (To top of page)

I received an adverse decision letter from the USDA.  What do I do now?
            One of the options is to request mediation about that decision.  Read the letter the USDA sent you, and it will tell you what options you have.  When you request mediation, the letter usually requires you to send written notification indicating that you are requesting mediation to our office.  There is a specific time frame for you to reply, so faxing or emailing the request can get the process started immediately.  We will set a mediation date and location and then inform all parties by mail of that date and location.
What happens if I decide I do not want mediation for a USDA adverse decision after I have requested mediation?
            The USDA usually allows 30 days for any type of appeal.  If you request mediation, the 30-day clock is stopped and starts again after the mediation.  You may pursue other forms of dispute resolution indicated on your letter.  However, if you schedule a mediation and then cancel, the 30 days will not stop.  It will be like you never requested mediation at all.  Please contact the USDA representative for more information about your options.

What if the issue does not involve the USDA?
            If the issue does not involve the USDA, mediation can still be requested.  There are a variety of disputes in rural Texas that do not involve an adverse decision from the USDA.  
            Anything from "my neighbor's cows are in my pansies again" to "my family needs to decide how mom is going to divide her estate" can be mediated. 

            For these types of disputes, you will need to fill out an Intake Form form and either fax or mail it.  We will then contact the parties by mail of the mediation date and location.

What if I live in a county with another alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider?
            If you are served by another ADR system we may not be able to mediate your dispute, UNLESS it is covered by the USDA mediation program.  Please contact our office so we can better help you determine the best course of action.


Training (To top of page)

Are there any continuing education requirements for being a mediator?
            There are no statutory Continuing Education requirements.  The Office of Dispute Resolution requires continuing education hours for any mediator that mediates any of our cases.  Other organizations may or may not require continuing education.

Can I arrange for customized training workshops for my employees?
            Yes.  Training workshops can be developed for a variety of purposes and industries.  Please call the Director at 1-866-329-3522 for more information about a customized learning experience.


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