Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 246TH Judicial District Local Rules

As a Houston, Texas divorce and family law attorney I have had the opportunity to help clients 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 and 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 blog that would discuss the local rules of the different family law courts in Harris County. I am starting with the 246TH but I will over time discuss the local rules of the other family law courts in Harris County, Texas.

246TH Judicial District Court – Phone 713-274-4500

  • The presiding Judge in this court is Charley Prine
  • the Associate Judge is Chelsie Ramos. Some of the following rules can be found on the
  • Address: 201 Caroline, 16TH 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=52.

If you check out the website for the 246TH Judicial District Court you will find the following information:

Docket Call

Docket Type

Time

Day

Notes

Uncontested Docket

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Monday-Friday

and at other times subject to the court’s availability.

General Docket

9:00 a.m.

Monday- Friday

Contempt Docket

9:00 a.m.

Tuesday

Trial Docket

9:00 a.m.

Monday

CPS Docket

9:00 a.m.

Thursday

Ancillary Matters

9:00 a.m.

Tuesday-Friday

Pre-Trial

9:00 a.m.

Monday

Enforcement Docket

9:00 a.m.

Tuesday

Discovery Docket

9:00 a.m.

Tuesday-Friday

Adoptions

Scheduled after pre-trial conference

Late Calls

A party or attorney running late to court must notify the clerk at least 30 minutes before docket call. Provide clerk the attorney’s name, cause number, where they are, time estimate before arrival, contact telephone number if more than 30 minutes late. Frequent late calls subject to verification. Frequent late calls due to traffic are unacceptable. Leave earlier.

Scheduling Orders

Scheduling Orders are issued 90 days after the case is filed with 90 days’ notice of the trial setting. Pretrial Conference will be held 10 days prior to trial.

Follow Scheduling Orders, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Exchange of exhibit lists, exhibits, witness lists;
  2. Reasonable cooperation in response to discovery requests;
  3. Adherence to deadlines;
  4. Make courtesy calls to court regarding late appearance;
  5. Speak one at a time particularly with a record is being taken;
  6. Be courteous to court personnel;
  7. Check files before trial and temporary orders hearings for relevant pleadings and have in front of the file; and
  8. Certificate of Conference for CPS, for special status, and modification of temporary orders.

Motions for Continuance

  1. Motions for Continuance require a hearing and must state specifics about the reason the continuance is requested.
  2. Agreed Continuances are not automatic but subject to the same requirements. I
  3. If a continuance is granted, a scheduling order must be attached with new pretrial and trial date.
  4. Attorney Vacation letters that are timely filed with the Harris County District Clerk are honored without a hearing or motion for continuance.

Pre-Trials

Pre-Trial Conference will be held 10 days prior to trial.

Trial or Hearing Reset

  1. Ancillary Hearing Resets – The party requesting the reset may reset through the clerk. If multiple parties have set a hearing for same date and time, all parties must agree to reset date.
  2. Trial Settings – Motions for Continuance require a hearing and must state specifics about the reason the continuance is requested. Agreed Continuances are not automatic but subject to the same requirements. If continuance is granted, a scheduling order must be attached with new pretrial and trial date.
  1. Attorney Vacation letters - that are timely filed with the Harris County District Clerk are honored without a hearing or motion for continuance.

Preferential Settings

Only in appropriate circumstances.

Dismissals With Out Prejudice (DWOP)

  1. Nonappearance by parties and their counsel at pretrial conference may result in DWOP.
  2. Petitioner’s or Movant’s Nonappearance at trial will result in DWOP.

Mediation

  1. Mediation prior to a temporary orders - hearing is required under Harris County Local Rule 7.1 in an appropriate case involving disputed custody or visitation issues.
  2. Mediation prior to final trial - is required per Harris County Local Rule 7.2.

“Prove Up” Hearings

Divorce – Party must be present with counsel, if represented.

  1. Must present final Decree. Heading should reflect if the Decree is an agreement or default.
  2. If child support is ordered must present Employer’s Withholding Order and Medical Support Order.
  3. If the Waiver of Service states that the party reserves the right to sign all orders or requires notice of the hearing, then follow the terms of the Waiver!
  4. BVS and FOCAS forms must be completed and turned in before the hearing.

SAPCR – Party must be present with counsel, if represented.

  1. Must present final Order adjudicating parentage. Heading should reflect if the Order is an agreement or default.
  2. If child support is ordered must present Employer’s Withholding Order and Medical Support Order.
  3. If the Waiver of Service states that the party reserves the right to sign all orders or requires notice of the hearing then follow the terms of the Waiver!
  4. Mother, alleged father and presumed father if there is one must sign acknowledgement of paternity or DNA test results must be entered presented.
  5. BVS and FOCAS forms must be completed and turned in before the hearing.

SAPCR Modification of Child Support

  1. May be submitted for consideration by submission if all parties and attorneys sign the final order.
  2. Must include new Employer’s Withholding Order.
  3. BVS and FOCAS forms must be completed and turned in before the hearing.

SAPCR – Modification of Powers, Duties, Possession, or Access

  1. Party must be present, with counsel if represented.
  2. Heading should reflect if the Order is an agreement or default.
  3. If child support is ordered must present Employer’s Withholding Order and Medical Support Order.
  4. If the Waiver of Service states that the party reserves the right to sign all orders or requires notice of the hearing then follow the terms of the Waiver!
  5. BVS and FOCAS forms must be completed and turned in before the hearing.

Settlement Agreements

  1. Party must be present, with counsel if represented.
  2. Entry generally two weeks after prove up.

Forms Needed for Non-Contested Cases

Waiver Divorce, No children

  1. Waiver of Citation (Must be electronically filed)
  2. Decree
  1. BVS 165

Waiver Divorce with Children

  1. Waiver of Citation (Must be electronically filed)
  2. Petition for Divorce
  3. Divorce Decree
  4. Employers Order to Withhold Wages
  5. Medical Child Support Order
  6. BVS 165
  1. H.C. Child Support Information Sheet aka FOCAS Setup Sheet

Default Divorces, Paternity, Custody, Modifications

  1. Check file for proof of service return (citation) – (Must be electronically filed & be on file for 10 days)
  2. Decree/Judgment
  3. Employers Order to Withhold Wages (if children)
  4. Medical Child Support Order (if children)
  5. Non-Military Affidavit (Must be electronically filed)
  6. Certificate of Last Known Address (Must be electronically filed)
  7. BVS 165
  1. H.C. Child Support Information Sheet aka FOCAS Setup Sheet (if children)

Name Change –For Adults:

  1. Criminal Record (CHFF) ran through the Crime Records Division (DPS) in Austin or FBI (Must be electronically filed)
  2. Certified/Original Birth Certificate of Petitioner
  3. Copy of Driver’s License
  4. Copy of Social Security Card
  1. Order Granting Change of Name

Name Change for Children:

  1. Both parents must be present unless Waiver of Appearance/Citation is filed by non-appearing parent
  2. Certified/Original Birth Certificate of Child
  3. Copy of Petitioner’s Driver’s License
  4. Copy of Social Security Card for Petitioner(s) and Child
  1. Order Granting Change of Name

Adoption/Termination

  1. Final Order Granting Adoption and Termination
  2. Confidential Copy Request Order
  3. BVS 160 (Certificate of Adoption for each child)
  4. BVS 165 (for Cases with Termination only)
  1. **If child support was established by a IV-D case, a certified copy of the Decree is necessary and must be referenced and attached to the Decree being filed.

Entry of Orders

  1. Entry of orders is generally two weeks after rendition of the order.
  2. Orders may be submitted prior to entry date if signed by all parties and attorneys.
  3. Must also file BVS and FOCAS forms.

Parenting Coordinators

  1. Parenting Coordinators may be appointed after notice and a hearing to present facts and circumstances supporting the need.

Amicus Appointments

The Court will appoint an Amicus Attorney in appropriate circumstances. Any attorney interested in being appointed as an Amicus or Ad Litem should tender to the Court a resume and two business cards.

Child Interviews

  1. Child interviews may be conducted after notice and hearing.
  2. Conferences should be scheduled after school hours.
  3. No children are to be brought to the courthouse without prior approval of the court.

Parenting Courses

  1. Parenting classes are required by local rule 12.1.
  2. Online classes are allowed.

Cases involving Military Personnel

  1. Agreed Divorces and Original and Agreed SAPCR may be proved up through Respondent or deposition by written questions if the Petitioner is assigned overseas and both parties have signed the final order.
  2. The same applies to civilians working overseas.

Supervised Visitation

  1. When supervised visitation may be in the best interest of the children, it is preferable that the parties suggest acceptable supervisor.
  2. If none can be found then visitations through SAFE or Guardians of Hope will be ordered.
  3. If a party requests drug testing they must demonstrate why the request is appropriate; be prepared to also be tested; and pay for the all tests they are requesting.

Psychological Evaluation

  1. Psychological testing will be ordered only in extreme cases after notice, hearing, and appointment of Amicus.

Courtesy Copies

1.Please provide at trial

Other Matters:

  1. No food or drink in the Courtroom unless authorized by Judge.

  2. No children allowed in the courtroom without prior approval by the Court.

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Other Articles you may be interested on regarding Houston Court Local Rules:

  1. 247TH Judicial District Local Rules
  2. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules
  3. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
  4. Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
  5. What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
  6. Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
  7. Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
  8. Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
  9. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
  10. Business Owners and Business Assets in a Texas Divorce

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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