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.
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. https://www.justex.net/LOCALRULES/LOCALRULES.ASPX
In order to assist my client’s 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:
This will be my 4TH blog on this topic.
308TH Judicial District Court – Phone: 713-274-4600
- The Presiding Judge: James Lombardino
- The Associate Judge: Michael Sydow, Jr.
- Address: 201 Caroline, 8th Floor, Houston, TX 77002
Some of the following rules can be found on the 308TH Judicial District Courts website located at https://www.justex.net/courts/Family/FAMILYCourt.aspx?crt=55
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
or at any other time if arranged with the court.
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.
Monday and Wednesday
Temporary Orders hearings will generally be limited to 45 minutes per party, including cross‐examination.
Motions to withdraw, Summary Judgments, Jurisdiction, Venue, Discovery
Pro Se Cases
With associate Judge
Late Docket Call
Attorneys who plan to be late for docket call must call the clerk before docket call and:
- state their expected time of arrival
- the reason for their delay, and the other court(s) where they are appearing.
- Cases are subject to being dismissed or reset if the attorney for the moving party does not arrive in the courtroom by 9:30 a.m.
- If the court resets the trial, the discovery and scheduling deadlines are not extended and there will be no new scheduling order issued.
- However, the duty to supplement discovery continues per the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Temporary Restraining Orders
- Should be mutual, although exceptions may be made if supported by an Affidavit.
- The court may edit a proposed TRO to make it mutual before signing it.
- The court may also strike certain non‐standard proposed injunctions if they are not supported by an Affidavit.
- A TRO on a counterclaim must contain a Certificate of Conference.
- Alternatively, counter‐petitioners should notice the other side of a hearing for Temporary Orders instead of having the petitioner served with a TRO.
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.
- Mediation prior to a temporary orders – Required, but exceptions may be made
- Mediation prior to final trial – Required, but exceptions may be made
- Per Texas Family Code
- Parenting classes are required by local rule 12.1.
- As I understand it this rule is generally not enforced
- As set by the court coordinator.
- Generally, uncontested terminations, jury Trials
At the Pre‐Trial Conference:
- all exhibits should be pre‐marked and exchanged
- any objections to the exhibits should be made
- the Proposed Jury Charge should be submitted
- Motions in Limine will be heard
- any visual aids (Power Points, videos, a day in the life, etc.) to be used at trial should be disclosed, and
- requests for proposed relief and proposed property divisions should be filed and exchanged.
- All supplemental production must be exchanged on or before the Friday before trial.
Dismissals With Out Prejudice (DWOP)
- If you do not appear for Trial or Entry of Final Order your case will be DWOP’d
Child Interviews – Cases Involving Children’s Preferences
- Upon request, if age 12 or older.
- On a case-by-case basis, if under 12.
- Generally, right before or after Trial or hearing.
- Generally, restricted to out-of-state parties and military personnel.
Motions for Continuance
- Contact Coordinator regarding Rule 11 agreements to reset Trial dates.
- If not agreed, set motion for hearing.
Approval of Decrees with Variancces from Standard Possession Order or Variences from Statutory Guidelines for Child Support when a case is a “waiver or default Divorce”
- The court may deviate from presumptions in the Texas Family Code, such as child support guidelines or the Standard Possession Order, if there is sufficient evidence to support the relief requested.
Periods of Possession for Children Under Three
- competent parents may have frequent and regular visitation, including overnights.
- Exceptions may be made if appropriate, including cases involving drugs or family violence.
Amicus Appointments / Guardians / Ad Litem
- Amicus appointed on all adoptions.
- AnAmicus Attorney will be appointed in most contested custody and SAPCR cases. The parties’ income will be taken into consideration when setting and allocating amicus fees. Parties may choose their own Amicus Attorney subject to the court’s approval.
- An Attorney Ad Litem will be appointed to represent a party served by publication, although exceptions may be made in cases with no children and no property.
- Parties seeking such an exception should approach the Associate Judge
- Generally not court-ordered.
- No late calls on Trial date.
- Courtesy is the number one rule in the 308TH. This means that attorneys, parties, and the court stat are expected to be courteous to each other.
- Cell phones and laptops must be in silent mode or turned off in the courtroom, and no food or chewing gum should be brought into the courtroom.
- Children should not be brought to the courthouse and may not be brought into the courtroom without consent of the court, except for children being adopted, who may be brought to the courthouse and will be invited into the courtroom at the appropriate time.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Other Articles you may be interested on regarding Houston Court Local Rules:
- 247TH Judicial District Local Rules
- 246TH Judicial District Local Rules
- Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
- Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
- What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
- Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
- Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
- Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
- Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC 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, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC 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.