Texas Family Law Courts
Most family law cases in Texas are resolved during mediation, and the rest get taken to court. People often avoid going to trial because it is expensive and court orders tend to be less favorable than settlements reached in mediation. So it is possible that there are people that have had family law cases but have never seen the inside of a Texas family law court. However, not all out-of-court negotiations are successful, which forces parties to go court. You will need to know certain terms and conditions if your family law case is heading to the courthouse.
What Exactly Are Family Law Courts?
Cases such as divorce, child custody, and child support are heard in family law courts. The court that will handle your family law case is located in the county where you reside. If there is more than one court in your county, then your case can be assigned randomly to any court that is available to hear your case in the county. In larger counties such as Fort Ben, Montgomery or Harris, family law courts have presiding judges that have been elected to those roles.
A presiding judge can choose an associate judge to serve with the presiding judge in the family law court. Unlike the presiding judge the associate judge is not elected to that position, but has the ability to handle the case just like the presiding judge. That is why the presiding judge often assigns certain cases to the associate judge. Other personnel besides the judge include:
- Court coordinators to handle administrative matters for the judges
- Bailiffs for security in the courtroom
- Court clerks also handle administrative matters
- Court reporters to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form
What You Should Expect In A Family Law Court
What you will find in a courthouse depends on where it is located. Courts in smaller counties are small and often have one judge. Smaller courts also have a shorter list of cases scheduled to be heard in a single day. Bigger counties have bigger and more modern looking courts. The bigger courts also use technology in their proceedings and their list scheduled cases are longer. Generally, courtrooms have a judge’s bench at the front, jury booth at one side of the room, clerk and court reporter on either side of the judge, and row of seats at the back. The litigants seat at the front of the row of seats.
Preparing For Family Court
You need to do the following if you go to court:
- Organize all your documents so that they are easily accessible to you and your attorney. Bring two copies of the original so that there are copies for the opposing side and the judge.
- You should dress properly because your way of dressing can convey a message. The jury in your case will be looking at the way you have dressed.
- You should prepare to arrive at the court early
- Check and make sure that your phone is off when you go to court