Family Law Courts

Harris County, Texas, has eleven designated family law courts which hear matters arising under the Texas Family Code.  A case is filed with the Family Law Intake section of the Harris County District Clerk's Office and randomly assigned to a court.  Once assigned to a court, that case and all subsequent matters arising from that original case will stay in that particular court unless transferred to anothe county or transferred to another court in Harris County by the judge of the court into which it is filed.  This becomes the "court of continuing jurisdiction."

For example, if a person files a divorce suit and subsequently decides to dismiss the suit, any refiled divorce will go back to that same court.  Modifications of custody orders, modifications of child support order, modifications of court ordered spousal maintenance, enforcement of child support or visitation orders will all go back to the court of continuing jurisdiction.  Ancillary matters such as motions and other minor disputes related to pending litigation go to the court of continuing jurisdiction.  Clarification of court orders will also go back to the court of continuing jurisdiction.

In addition to the elected judge of the court, each family law court has an appointed associate judge to assist the elected judge in hearing certain matters such as discovery disputes, or temporary or final orders (subject to a party's right to object to an associate judge.

Harris County is fortunate that its family court judges have experience as family law attorneys familiar with the law and the processes and procedures of family law courts.

Other large metropolitan counties in Texas have a central docket system which assign the ancillary motions to any available judge.  That judge may be unfamiliar with your case and may never see it or you again.