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Harris County, Texas Family Law Courthouse in Houston- 308TH Judicial District Local Rules

Situated in the heart of Houston, the 308TH Judicial District Court is an essential hub for family law matters in Harris County. When you step into this courthouse, you’ll encounter a well-established legal system that handles a wide range of cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, and more. Familiarizing yourself with the court’s operations and procedures is essential to navigate the family law landscape successfully.

Overview of the 308TH Judicial District Courthouse in Houston: The Judges

The 308TH Judicial District Court is presided over by Judge James Lombardino, an experienced and respected figure in family law matters. Alongside him is Associate Judge Michael Sydow, Jr., who also plays a crucial role in the court’s proceedings. These judges bring their expertise and legal acumen to ensure fair and just outcomes for the cases that come before them.

Contact Information and Address

The 308TH Judicial District Court is located at 201 Caroline, 8th Floor, Houston, TX 77002. Should you need to contact the court, you can reach them at 713-274-4600. It’s important to have this information readily available for any queries or concerns related to your case.

Docket Call Schedule and Types

Understanding the docket call schedule is vital for anyone involved in family law proceedings. The 308TH Judicial District Court follows a well-structured docket call system to ensure efficient case management. Here are the various types of docket calls and their corresponding schedules:

  1. Uncontested: Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Additionally, arrangements can be made with the court for other suitable times.
  2. Trial Docket: Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. Trials are generally held on the scheduled day, but if necessary, they may be rescheduled within the same week.
  3. Temporary Orders: Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. These hearings usually last up to 45 minutes per party, including cross-examination.
  4. Ancillary Docket: Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. This docket covers motions to withdraw, summary judgments, jurisdiction, venue, and discovery matters.
  5. CPS Docket: Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. These dockets specifically address cases involving Child Protective Services.
  6. Enforcement: Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. Matters related to enforcement are heard during this docket call.
  7. Entries: Fridays at 9:00 a.m. This docket is dedicated to handling various entries related to family law cases.
  8. Pro Se Cases: Fridays at 9:00 a.m., with the Associate Judge. This docket provides support for self-represented litigants.

It’s crucial to be aware of the specific docket call related to your case to ensure you appear at the appropriate time and day. Understanding the docket system is crucial for legal professionals, defendants, plaintiffs, and the general public.

Docket Call Schedule Guide

Docket Type

Time

Day

Notes

Uncontested

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Monday-Friday

or at any other time if arranged with the court.

Trial Docket

9:00 a.m.

Tuesday

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

Temporary Orders

9:00 a.m.

Monday and Wednesday

Temporary Orders hearings will generally be limited to 45 minutes per party, including cross‐examination.

Ancillary Docket

9:00 a.m.

Wednesday

Motions to withdraw, Summary Judgments, Jurisdiction, Venue, Discovery

CPS Docket

8:00 a.m.

Wednesday

 

CPS Docket

1:30 p.m.

Thursday

 

Enforcement

9:00 a.m.

Thursday

 

Entries

9:00 a.m.

Fridays

 

Pro Se Cases

9:00 a.m.

Fridays

With associate Judge

Late Docket Call

Attorneys who plan to be late for docket call must call the clerk before docket call and: 1. state their expected time of arrival 2. the reason for their delay, and more.

Procedures for Uncontested Cases

If you find yourself involved in an uncontested family law case, you must follow certain procedures to streamline the process. The 308TH Judicial District Court has guidelines to help resolve uncontested matters smoothly. Here’s an overview of the steps you need to take:

  • Filing the Petition: You, as the petitioner, must file the original petition and pay the appropriate filing fees.
  • Service of Process: You must serve the other party with a copy of the filed petition and citation.
  • Waiting Period: Be aware of Texas law’s waiting period before the court can grant a final order in certain cases.
  • Submission of Documents: After the waiting period, you must submit all required documents, including proposed orders, to the court for review.
  • Finalizing the Order: The court will review and sign the final order if all documents meet its requirements, concluding the uncontested case.

It’s crucial to follow these procedures for a swift resolution in uncontested cases, which saves time, effort, and avoids unnecessary complications.

Family Law Courthouse Houston: Trial Docket Procedures and Rescheduling

Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules

When a family law case proceeds to trial, it’s important to understand the procedures and guidelines involved. The 308TH Judicial District Court has established protocols to ensure fair and efficient trials. Here’s an outline of the trial docket procedures:

  1. Pre-Trial Conferences: Prior to the trial, the court may schedule pre-trial conferences to discuss important matters and potentially reach settlements.
  2. Scheduling Orders: The court will issue scheduling orders to outline important deadlines, such as discovery cut-off dates and trial dates.
  3. Continuances: If a party needs to reschedule a trial date, they must file a motion for continuance with valid reasons and obtain court approval.
  4. Trial Proceedings: During the trial, both parties present their arguments and evidence to support their respective positions. The court will carefully consider the facts and make a decision based on the law and the best interests of the parties involved.

Understanding trial docket procedures and adhering to the court’s guidelines are essential for a successful trial experience.

Temporary Orders Hearings Play a Crucial Role in Family Law Cases

Temporary orders hearings are essential in family law cases for making immediate decisions. These hearings focus on urgent matters like child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support. The limitations of temporary orders include:

  • Timeframe: They cater to immediate needs and last until the final order.
  • Modifiability: Circumstantial changes, new evidence, or party requests can modify them.
  • Interim Nature: Their goal is to maintain stability during the case, not to decide the final outcome.

Knowing these limitations is key to effectively navigating the process and making informed decisions.

Handling Ancillary Docket Matters in the 308TH Judicial District Courthouse in Houston

The 308TH Judicial District Court addresses various ancillary docket matters in family law proceedings, such as motions to withdraw, summary judgments, jurisdiction, venue, and discovery. Understanding these issues is crucial for your case’s outcome.

  • Motions to Withdraw: Attorneys must file and get court approval to withdraw.
  • Summary Judgments: Parties can request a judgment based on evidence without a trial if no material fact issues exist.
  • Jurisdiction and Venue: Correct filing in the appropriate jurisdiction and venue is essential.
  • Discovery: This involves exchanging information and evidence through specific methods and adhering to rules and deadlines.

Properly addressing these matters significantly influences your case’s progression and outcome. Consulting an attorney for specific rules and procedures is advisable.

CPS Docket Schedule and Child Protective Services Cases

The 308TH Judicial District Court actively dedicates a docket to Child Protective Services (CPS) cases, addressing issues of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment. Understanding the CPS docket schedule and its unique procedures is vital if you are involved in such a case.

The court conducts the CPS docket typically on Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. These docket calls involve handling issues like removal hearings, permanency hearings, and other matters concerning the well-being of children in CPS cases. To effectively represent your interests and protect the best interests of the child, being prepared and present at these docket calls is crucial.

Enforcement Docket and Procedures

Enforcement of court orders is a vital aspect of family law cases. The 308TH Judicial District Court has established an enforcement docket to address matters related to the enforcement of child support, visitation, and other court-ordered obligations.

The enforcement docket is held on Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. During these hearings, the court examines allegations of non-compliance with court orders and may take appropriate action to enforce those orders. It’s important for parties to come prepared with evidence and documentation to support their claims of non-compliance or to defend against such allegations.

Understanding the enforcement docket procedures and ensuring compliance with court orders is essential to protect your rights and maintain the integrity of the family law process.

Family Law Courthouse Houston: Entries Docket and Its Purpose

The entries docket in the 308TH Judicial District Court serves a crucial administrative function. This docket is dedicated to handling various entries related to family law cases, including the entry of final orders, judgments, and other important documents.

The entries docket is held on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. During this time, the court reviews and signs off on entries submitted by the parties or their attorneys. It is important to ensure that all required documents are complete, accurate, and comply with the court’s guidelines to facilitate a smooth entry process.

The entries docket plays a significant role in finalizing and concluding family law cases. Adhering to the procedures and requirements of the entries docket is crucial to ensure the timely processing of your case.

Pro Se Cases and the Role of the Associate Judge

Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules

In the 308TH Judicial District Court, pro se cases refer to situations where individuals represent themselves without the assistance of an attorney. While it is generally advisable to seek legal representation, the court recognizes that some individuals choose to navigate the legal process on their own. In pro se cases, the Associate Judge plays a crucial role in guiding the proceedings.

The Associate Judge typically hears pro se cases on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. and supports and guides pro se litigants, helping them understand legal procedures, rules, and their rights. Approaching pro se cases requires thorough preparation, as the court expects individuals to familiarize themselves with relevant laws and adhere to proper courtroom etiquette.

In pro se cases, respect and cooperation with the court, opposing parties, and their attorneys are vital. Although the Associate Judge offers guidance, they cannot provide legal advice or advocate for either party. Presenting your case clearly and concisely, with all necessary documentation and evidence to support your position, is essential.

Guidelines for Attorneys Late to Docket Call

In the 308TH Judicial District Court, punctuality is highly valued, and attorneys are expected to be present for docket call and other court proceedings on time. However, unforeseen circumstances may sometimes cause unavoidable delays. If you find yourself running late, it is crucial to follow the court’s guidelines to minimize any potential disruptions.

Attorneys who anticipate being late for docket call must contact the clerk before the scheduled time and provide the following information:

  1. Expected Time of Arrival: State the estimated time of your arrival in court.
  2. Reason for Delay: Clearly explain the reason for your delay, such as conflicting court appearances.
  3. Other Court Appearances: Inform the court about any other courts where you are appearing on the same day.

It is important to note that cases are subject to being dismissed or rescheduled if the attorney for the moving party fails to arrive in the courtroom by 9:30 a.m. Prompt communication and adherence to the guidelines help maintain the efficient functioning of the court and uphold the rights of all parties involved.

Family Law Courthouse Houston: Discovery Rules and Deadlines

In family law cases, discovery plays a crucial role, allowing parties to gather relevant information and evidence to support their positions. The 308TH Judicial District Court enforces specific rules and deadlines for discovery, which all parties involved must closely follow.

If the court resets a trial, parties should note that discovery and scheduling deadlines do not automatically extend. This means parties must still meet the existing deadlines, and the court will not issue a new scheduling order. Parties must continue fulfilling their duty to supplement discovery as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

By adhering to these discovery rules and deadlines, parties ensure a fair and transparent exchange of information, enabling them to build a strong case based on available evidence.

Guidelines for Obtaining Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)

Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are orders issued by the court to provide immediate and temporary relief in urgent family law disputes. Understanding the guidelines for obtaining a TRO is essential if you find yourself in such a dispute.

The 308TH Judicial District Court adheres to several key guidelines regarding TROs:

  • Mutual TROs: TROs should generally be mutual, applying to both parties in the dispute. However, exceptions may exist if supported by an Affidavit.
  • Court’s Editing Authority: The court can edit a proposed TRO to make it mutual before signing it.
  • Striking Non-Standard Proposed Injunctions: The court may strike certain non-standard proposed injunctions if they lack Affidavit support.
  • Counterclaim TROs: A counterclaim that includes a TRO request must contain a Certificate of Conference.
  • Alternative Approach: Counter-petitioners can opt to notice the other side of a hearing for Temporary Orders instead of serving the petitioner with a TRO.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Harris County, Texas Family Law Courthouse – 308th Judicial District Local Rules play a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape for families in this jurisdiction. These rules reflect the dedication of the court to ensure that family matters are handled with the utmost care, fairness, and efficiency. From establishing procedures for child custody disputes to outlining guidelines for property division, these rules provide a comprehensive framework that aims to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Texas Have Family Court?

Yes, Texas has family courts that handle various family law matters such as divorce, child custody, child support, and more.

Which Court Handles Divorce Cases In Harris County?

Divorce cases in Harris County are handled by the district courts, specifically the family law courts within the county.

How Do I Get A Copy Of My Custody Agreement Online In Texas?

To obtain a copy of your custody agreement online in Texas, you can typically visit the website of the district clerk’s office for the county where the agreement was filed. They often provide online access to court records, including custody agreements.

How Do I Get A Divorce Decree In Harris County?

To obtain a divorce decree in Harris County, you need to follow the specific procedures of the court where your divorce case was heard. Typically, you would need to request a certified copy of the decree from the district clerk’s office in the county where the divorce was finalized.

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