Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 247TH Judicial District Local Rules

As a Houston, Texas divorce and family law attorney I have had the opportunity to help service members through divorce and family law cases. In order to do this, it is important to not only be aware of Texas Family Law but also familiar with the local rules of the court each family law court in Harris County, Texas.

Local Rules

Texas has statewide rules of court that parties an attorneys must follow. In addition to these rules Judges of each court are allowed to adopt procedural regulations which are mandatory upon parties and their lawyers on matters within the jurisdiction of those Courts. These rules are violated or ignored at the peril of the client and his or her counsel.

One good place to look at to start getting familiar with Local Rules is the District Clerks website. https://www.justex.net/LOCALRULES/LOCALRULES.ASPX

In order to assist my client’s and the residents of Harris County I decided a to work on a series of blogs that would discuss the local rules of the different family law courts in Harris County. I started with the 246TH District Court in Harris County and this is the second in my series in which I will be discussing the 247TH District Court in Harris County.

247TH Judicial District Court – Phone: 713-274-1247

  • The Presiding Judge: John Schmude
  • The Associate Judge: Paula Vlahakos
  • Address: 201 Caroline, 15th Floor, Houston, TX 77002

Some of the following rules can be found on the 247TH Judicial District Courts website located at https://www.justex.net/courts/family/FamilyCourt.aspx?crt=53

If you check out the website for the 247TH Judicial District Court you will find the following information:

Docket Call

Docket Type

Time

Day

Notes

Uncontested Docket

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Monday-Friday

Attorneys and litigants who have reached agreements or who are ready to approach on true default judgments on any day the Court is in session and at any time during the day that court is in session and available. Please call first to ensure you can be accommodated.

General Docket

9:30 a.m.

Monday- Friday

Trial Docket

9:30 a.m.

Monday- Friday

Pre-trial Conferences are required in the following cases: 1) Adoptions 2) Jury Trials, and 3) All trials in which the time estimate exceeds four (4) hours.

Express Docket

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Monday-Friday

Hearings that will take 5 minutes or less may be scheduled on the Express Docket. Please note that the Court will take you at your word and will limit the hearing to 5 minutes.

CPS Docket

9:30 a.m.

Tuesday

Enforcement Docket

9:30 a.m.

Wednesday

Discovery Docket

1:30 p.m.

Friday

Mediation Requirement

Mediation provides the opportunity to reach an agreement in a cooperative environment in which the parties determine the outcome of their case. Parties are generally better served when disputes are resolved amicably.

  1. Mediation prior to a temporary orders - Absent good cause shown, all parties and their attorneys are required to attend mediation prior to temporary orders hearings in which:
    1. conservatorship and/or possession and access is at issue; or
    2. the total time estimate for the hearing exceeds three hours.
  2. Mediation prior to final trial - Mediation is required prior to final trial in all cases. Mediation is required even if the parties mediated temporary orders.
  3. Appointment of a Mediator – Parties may select their mediator by agreement. In the absence of mutual agreement, the Court will select a mediator.

Informal Settlement Agreements

If a reasonable agreement has been reached through mediation or through the informal settlement process set forth in Chapter Six of the Texas Family Code, Section 6.604, those reasonable agreements will be honored by the Court.

Parenting Courses

  1. Parenting classes are required by local rule 12.1.
  2. As understand it this rule is generally not enforced
  3. Adoption cases and modification cases no longer require a parenting class.

Name Changes

  1. Per Texas Family Code

Pre-Trials

Pre-trial conferences are required for:

  1. jury trials and
  2. for trials with a time estimate of more than four hours.

Scheduling Orders

  1. Scheduling Orders will be issued after six months after a case is filed.

Dismissals With Out Prejudice (DWOP)

  1. Cases will not be dismissed because an entry is missed or needs to be reset.

Parenting Coordinators

  1. May be appointed by agreement of the parties or on the Court's own motion.
  2. If the parties agree on the coordinator/facilitator, the Court will generally honor those agreements.

Child Interviews – Cases Involving Children’s Preferences

  1. Handled on a case by case basis.

Preferential Settings

The Court will preferentially set matters that have been reset multiple times or that the Court, due to time constraints, has been unable to accommodate.

Motions for Continuance

  1. If a case has been pending less than one year, the parties may re-set with a Rule 11 Agreement directly with the Court Coordinator.
  2. If a case has been pending more than one year, please file a Motion of Continuance and set for hearing even if it is an unopposed or agreed motion.

Amicus Appointments

  1. Appointments are always made when required by law.
  2. The parties may choose their amicus/ad litem by agreement.
  3. In the absence of an agreement, the Court shall choose.
  4. When an amicus/ad litem appointment is discretionary, the parties are free to agree whether an amicus/ad litem is appointed.
  5. If no agreement is reached, the parties may request that the court make the appointment.
  6. If the court decides that an amicus/ad litem should be appointed, the parties will be given the opportunity to agree on the amicus/ad litem.
  7. In the absence of an agreement, the Court shall choose.
  8. The Court may also decide that an amicus is necessary on its own motion.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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