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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.

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

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

Docket Call

Docket Type




Uncontested Docket

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


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.


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.


Enforcement Docket

9:30 a.m.


Discovery Docket

1:30 p.m.


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-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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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. 246TH 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
  11. Can you negotiate child support during mediation?
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