The Houston Texas Divorce Court 311th of Harris County, Texas hears family law matters generally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The 311th Judicial District of Harris County Texas is located on the 8th floor of the New Civil Law building at 201 Caroline, Houston Texas. This court hears divorce and other family law matters in Houston, Texas. Judge Alicia Franklin has been on the bench since June of 2014 and was elected by Harris county to a four year term in November of 2014. . Judge Newey has announced that he is leaving in December of 2014. Judge Mecca Walker has replaced Judge Newey and is the current associate Judge in the 311th. Their new number is (713) 274-4580.
“Procedures in the 311th Divorce Court”
Procedure in the 311th Divorce Court start with agreed uncontested divorce and/or hearings which begin start at 8:30 a.m. Judge Walker typically starts about 8:45 a.m. The docket starts at 9:00 a.m. Trial docket start on Mondays at 9 a.m. with a two week rotation to hear or try your case. Mediation is required before temporary orders in which child custody is at issue and all final trials. Judge Walkers rulings are very narrow if the case has been recently filed. She does not typically punish someone until there has been gross misconduct but then when there is a track record she comes down hard. Cases are typically brought to trial within 8 months.
Mediation prior to a temporary order will be necessary if the conservatorship is contested or the estimated time to complete the hearing is more than 2 hours. There are extreme cases when the Court will waive the mediation, especially if it is about family violence. Also, the mediation prior to the final trial is also required unless the Court decides it can be waived before the trial.
The local rules, the Harris County Family Trial Division will regulate the parenting classes. This means that if you do not take the class and if you have a contested hearing, you loose points for custody, but if you have a deal, then the parenting class is not enforced. In the case of name changes, there is the need for a criminal background check, together with an identification card that is valid. The pre-trial conferences are, in most cases, held on Fridays, with 10 days in advance of trial. There is the need for a pre-trial checklist to be completed by the parties. In the case of issuance of scheduling orders, the Court will issue the order within 90 days after the petition was filed. Pre-trials are typically held only in Jury trials.
Dismissal without prejudice (DWOP) cases are the ones that reached a final trial setting and no answer found in the docket call. Or, a Final Order has an entry, yet again there is no response to the docket call. The use of parental coordinators of facilitators will be established from case to case. Children preferences are crucial, and they are a good reason for modification. If the parties state that the child will make a choice, the Court will protect his best interest. Thus, children will be interviewed in chambers through Texas Family Code. Although, there is the need for the Court’s approval to bring a child in.
If the parties need preferential settings, before the Associate Judge, a Waiver of De Novo Hearing has to be executed, before the preferred setting is received. In case the parties come to a common settlement before a preferential setting, an immediate announcement must be made so that the case will be removed from the schedule and make room for another.
The motions for continuance can be granted from the first trial setting if the parties agree to it, and a new date can be set. All the other motions for continuances must be presented and verified by the Court. Amicus appointment will be accepted depending on each case separately. The court might also have additional requests and rules. For any supplementary information, contact Michael Busby, a Houston divorce attorney, who will be ready to answer any question.
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