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Harris County, Texas Family Law Court – 245TH Judicial District Local Rules

Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH 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. To do this, it is essential to be aware of Texas Family Law and be familiar with the local rules of the Court, each family law court in Harris County, Texas like the 245TH Judicial District Local Rules.

245TH Judicial District Local Rules

Texas has statewide rules of Court that parties and attorneys must follow. In addition to these rules, Judges of each Court may adopt procedural regulations that parties and their lawyers must follow for matters within the jurisdiction of those Courts. Violating or ignoring these rules endangers both the client and their counsel.

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

To assist my clients and the residents of Harris County, I decided to work on a series of blogs that would discuss the local rules of the different family law courts in Harris County.

Thus far, I have written blogs on the following:

  1. The 246TH Judicial District Court
  2. The 247TH Judicial Court and the
  3. The 257TH Judicial District Court
  4. The 308TH Judicial District Court

This will be my 5TH blog on this topic.

245TH Judicial District Court – Phone: 713-274-1245

  • The Presiding Judge: Roy L. Moore
  • The Associate Judge: James Cooper
  • Address: 201 Caroline, 15th Floor, Houston, TX 77002

Some of the following rules can be found on the 245TH Judicial District Courts website https://www.justex.net/Courts/Family/FamilyCourt.aspx?crt=27.

245TH Judicial District Docket Call

Docket Type

Time

Day

Notes

Docket Call

10:00 a.m.

Monday-Friday

 

Pro Se Cases

10:00 a.m.

Monday-Fridays

 

Discovery Hearing Docket

(Motion to Compel)

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Friday

All counsel are expected to engage in good faith negotiations. A certificate of the conference is required.

Uncontested

8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Monday-Friday

or at any other time if arranged with the Court.

Trial Docket

10:00 a.m.

Tuesday

Trials will generally be held on the day scheduled, and if not, during the week organized. If the Court cannot reach the case that week,

the trial will be reset.

Temporary Orders

10:00 a.m.

Tuesday and Wednesday

 

Ancillary Docket

10:00 a.m.

Friday

Motions to withdraw, Summary Judgments, Jurisdiction, Venue

C.P.S. Docket

8:00 a.m.

Monday-Thursday

 

Enforcement

10:00 a.m.

Thursday

 

Entries

10:00 a.m.

Fridays

 

Conflicting Settings

Attorneys must notify the Court of any conflicts. If they fail to appear or do not inform the Court of the conflict, the Court may pass, reset, or default the hearing.

Discovery

Counsel must engage in good faith negotiations. They need to provide a certificate of the conference. The attorney filing the motion should detail their attempts to obtain discovery or relief from the opposing counsel by agreement, the reasons for failure, and the basis for disagreement.

Non-compliance with this requirement will lead to the non-setting of the motion for a hearing.

The attorney must attach the disputed discovery to the motion or include it in the action.

Exhibit Policy and Procedures

The 245TH District Court also has rules regarding exhibits. I understand that these rules were implemented to comply with appellate procedures if a party should appeal. Those rules include:

  1. All presentations MUST be marked appropriately: P-1, P-2 or R-1, R-2, etc.
  2. Each party MUST provide the Court and Court Reporter with an Exhibit List before the hearing or trial commencing.
  3. DO NOT USE letters as Exhibit designations: A, B, etc.
  4. Before any hearing or problem, you MUST have copies of each Exhibit you intend to offer.
  5. The original exhibits upon being admitted will be provided to the Court Reporter and will NOT leave her possession and control once realized.
  6. You MUST have a copy of the Exhibit for the Judge, each opposing counsel, Amicus or Ad Litem Attorney, and Pro Se party.
  7. Attorneys must ensure and keep track of which Exhibits they have offered and admitted.
  8. After any hearing or trial, all attorneys and Pro Se Litigants must sign a declaration, as the Official Court Reporter provides, confirming that she possesses all offered and admitted Exhibits.

245TH District Court Standing Order Regarding Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law

The 245Th District Court adopted a standing order for requesting and filing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law in cases governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 296-299a, following a bench trial. Those rules are as follows:

  1. THIS ORDER DOES NOT APPLY TO FINDINGS OF FACT IN CONTESTED CHILD SUPPORT CASES.
  2. For purposes of this Order, findings of fact and conclusions of law will be referred to collectively as either “findings” or “findings of fact.”
  3. Findings of fact may be requested in any case tried in this Court without a jury. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296.
  4. In cases governed by Rule 296, the party who loses should always request findings of fact. Otherwise, all results are deemed in favor of the judgment.
  5. The losing party must file an original request entitled “Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law,” under Rule 296, within 20 days after the date the judgment is signed.
  6. Once the losing party makes a proper request for findings of fact, the winning party should prepare, file, and serve its conclusions proposed on or before the 20th day after the date the losing party requested results. The Court will not prepare proposed findings of fact.
  7. If the Court does not sign findings of fact within 20 days after the original request is filed, the losing party must file a “Notice of Past Due Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” within 30 days after the date it filed its original request. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 297.
  8. In the notice of past findings, the party must state the date the original request was filed and the date the findings of fact were due. Tex. R. Civ. P. 297.
  9. Once the notice of past due findings of fact is filed, the Court has 40 days after the first request was filed to make and file findings of fact. Tex. R. Civ. P. 297.
  10. Once the Court makes findings, either party may ask the Court for additional or amended results. The request for additional or amended findings of fact must be filed within ten days after the Court’s initial findings are filed. Tex. R. Civ. P. 298.
  11. If either party requests additional or amended findings, the party must submit specific proposed findings. A broad, general request for other or amended results is not sufficient.
  12. Suppose either or both parties request specific additional or amended findings of fact. In that case, the Court shall make and file any other or amended findings within ten days after the request for different or amended results is filed. Tex. R. Civ. P. 298.
  13. Refusal of the Court to make a proposed finding shall be reviewable on appeal. Tex. R. Civ. P. 299.
  14. Findings of fact shall not be recited in a judgment. Tex. R. Civ. P. 299a.
  15. This Standing Order does not apply in a contested child-support case. In a contested child-support case, findings are governed by Section 154.130 of the Texas Family Code.

Required Orders and Forms for Entry of Final Decree/Orders

Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH Judicial District Local Rules

The 245Th District Court has a helpful checklist of what documents are required to finalize cases. Those documents include the inventory and as follows:

  1. Divorce – No Children:
    1. Decree
    2. B.V.S. Form
  2. Divorce – With Children:
    1. Decree
    2. Wage Withholding Order (Signed by Submitting Attorney or Party)
    3. Medical Support Order (Signed by Submitting Attorney or Party)
    4. B.V.S. (Completed)
    5. Child Support Information Form (Completed)
    6. T.F.C. §105.006 Information Form (Completed)
  3. S.A.P.C.R.:
    1. Decree
    2. Wage Withholding Order (Signed by Submitting Attorney or Party)
    3. Medical Support Order (Signed by Submitting Attorney or Party)
    4. B.V.S. (Completed)
    5. Child Support Information Form (Completed)
    6. T.F.C. §105.006 Information Form (Completed)

If you are asking the Court to finalize your case by default in addition to the above documents, the Court will also require:

  1. Court Reporter Information Form
  2. Certificate of Last Known Address
  3. Servicemember Civil Relief Act Affidavit (U.S.C.A. Title 50 App. §521)

Temporary Orders

The Court hears Temporary Orders Hearings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Please note, temporary orders on modification necessitate a supporting affidavit and must receive approval before setting a hearing.

Mediation Requirement

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

  1. Mediation before a temporary order – Required in all cases absent a Motion and Order Waiving same.
  2. Mediation before final trial – Required in all cases absent a Motion and Order Waiving same.

Name Changes

Daily on the Uncontested Docket.

Parenting Courses

Recommended and encouraged but not required.

Pre-Trials

Set by Judges as required

Scheduling Orders / Trial Dates

Scheduling orders are issued three months after filing or as requested Post-Answer. The court coordinator automatically generates trial dates.

Dismissals With Out Prejudice (D.W.O.P.)

Four to five months if no Answer, Waiver, or Service

Child Interviews – Cases Involving Children’s Preferences

Per Tex. Fam. Code; Interviews conducted after testimony.

Preferential Settings

Set by a coordinator with approval by Judges based on calendar availability.

Motions for Continuance

  1. The first Trial setting, if agreed, may by Rule 11;
  2. all others by Judge. The motion required to be filed two weeks out.

Approval of Decrees with Variances from Standard Possession Order or Variances from Statutory Guidelines for Child Support when a case is a “waiver or default Divorce.”

The Court follows the presumptions in the Family Code unless rebutted by credible evidence.

Amicus Appointments / Guardians / Ad Litem

By agreement or by Judge

Parenting Coordinators

Not required.

Not Filing and an Inventory Before Trial

The case is likely to proceed to trial, and the Court will possibly not allow that party to put on evidence as to property value or character.

Social Studies

Social studies are required in all adoptions, and commonly when the case is not ripe for the appointment of an amicus and an investigation is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH Judicial District Local Rules

In conclusion, the 245th Judicial District of Harris County, Texas, presents a unique set of local rules that are pivotal for the smooth functioning of family law proceedings. These rules ensure that cases are handled efficiently, fairly, and with the sensitivity required in family law matters. Understanding these guidelines is crucial for attorneys, litigants, and other stakeholders in the family law process. They serve as a roadmap for navigating complex family law issues within this jurisdiction, ultimately aiming to uphold justice and provide clarity in legal proceedings.

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  2. 246TH Judicial District Local Rules
  3. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court – 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
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  10. Can you negotiate child support during mediation?
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  12. The Harris County District Family Courts at a Glance: February 2023

 

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