Harris County Family Law FAQ
Q:I don’t live in Harris County, but my wife does. Can I file for divorce there?
A:If your wife is domiciled in Harris County then, yes, you can file for divorce here. To be domiciled in Harris County means that your wife must have lived here for the previous three months prior to the filing of your divorce case. To be domiciled in Harris County means that a Harris County family court would have jurisdiction over the divorce. Otherwise, no jurisdiction means that the court cannot hear arguments in hearings or a trial and cannot issuing rulings in your case.
Q:Harris County is big and has a lot of courthouses. Which one do I need to go to for my child custody case?
A:201 Caroline St. is the address for the Harris County Civil Courthouse. There are many family courts located on multiple floors of the courthouse so you should check online or with the clerk of the court for the specific floor that your courtroom is on. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your planned route to get to the courthouse as well as parking. Leaving enough time for you to get downtown, find a place to park, go through security and make it up to your courtroom can take more time than you imagined.
Q:Does Harris County offer reduced cost mediation services?
A:Yes. The Harris County Dispute Resolution Center is free for residents of Harris County to utilize. Mediation allows for you and your spouse or co-parent to negotiate with one another in a low-stress environment outside of court. By choosing to mediate rather than litigate, you can often arrive at more equitable solutions than if a judge must issue orders after a hearing or trial. At cost mediation services are offered through private mediators across Harris County, as well.
Q:I heard that dads in Harris County have no chance at becoming the primary conservator of their kids. Is that true?
A:No, this is not true at all. Fathers and mothers are treated equally under the Texas Family Code. There is no favorability when it comes to conservatorship rights and duties related to gender or sex. However, the specific circumstances of your case will influence who will be named as the primary conservator of your children. For example, if you have never cared for your children on a primary basis at any point in their lives it will be difficult for a family court judge to put you in that situation because of your family law case.
Q:Can I try and change parts of my divorce decree if I didn’t like the outcome of that case?
A:Yes. This is known as a modification in the world of Texas family law. A modification case involves changing or amending some part of your prior court orders so long as a material and substantial change has occurred in a party’s (or your child’s) life. If the requested change to the prior court order is in relation to your child then the modification will need to be in that child’s best interests no matter if the material and substantial change can be proven.