motions and settings

Please review the Motions Guidelines   page and How to Get Your Motions/Case Set  to avoid unnecessary delay in obtaining a setting. All opposed motions or unagreed to motions must contain a Certificate of Conference.  


All motions MUST have the following and they must be e-filed with the clerk:


  • Motion: If "agreed", the title should say so or the Court will assume it is contested;
  • Order: Must make provision for motion being "granted" AND "Denied;"
  • SETTING REQUEST COMPLETELY FILLED OUT for BOTH oral hearings AND Submissions;
  • Certificate of Conference (unless Motion is agreed) indicating if you have discussed or attempted to discuss the setting or Motion with opposing counsel or party.


WITHOUT THESE ITEMS, YOU MOTION WILL NOT BE SET!!!


Types of settings may include:


  • Temporary Order Hearing;
  • Appearance Hearing - Sometimes referred to as a "short set".  The purpose of this hearing is to have all parties to appear before the Court to ensure compliance with the Court's Standing Order, enter an agreed TRO or schedule hearing for TRO.  This setting may be particularly useful when one or more of the parties are Pro Se.  Counsel may waive appearance hearing by agreement.  At the hearing, the Court may enter a Scheduling Order if requested by a party or on its own.  This setting should usually only last 15-30 minutes.
  • Pre-Trial Hearing - to set trial date and confirm matters necessary to be completed before trial.  the Court will enter a Trial Preparation Order and, on occasion, a Scheduling Order;
  • Entry or Order - If an order has been orally pronounced, it will be set on specific date for entry of that order in writing. If all parties do not sign off of the order, they must appear for entry of the order setting before the court.  If all parties sign off on the order, no one need be present and the order will be signed by the Court as submitted.  A party may also submit an order for entry after an MSA or rule 11 agreement with 10 days notice to the other party.  If there is no objection, the Order will be signed as submitted;
  • Submission - Orders to be entered based on Motion, affidavits, etc and not requiring an oral hearing;
  • Pre-Trial Conference - Usually held shortly (1 week) before trial setting to ensure everything is ready for trial;
  • Bench Trial;
  • Jury Trial;


For additional information, PLEASE GO TO THE LINKS ABOVE.

SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANT/PRO SE

It is strongly recommended that individuals NOT attempt to represent themselves in family law matters. However, if a party insists on representing themselves, they will be required to fallow all rules of court.  You should carefully read the section of this website on SRL/Pro Se parties however, even a thorough understanding of the information on this website will not necessarily prepare you to effectively represent yourself in a family law matter.  If you choose to represent yourself in a family law matter, you and you alone are responsible for knowing the law as well as this court's procedures.  The staff of this Court not the Clerk's Office can give you legal advice.


INMATES/INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS

If you are an inmate in a unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice here in Grimes County or the Grimes County Jail, please read the following.

Standing Temporary Order

The court has ordered, in all divorce suits or SAPCR, a Standing Temporary Restraining Order be entered and imposed on all parties to the suit. All petitions for Divorce shall contain a statement signed by the Petitioner evidencing receipt of a copy of the Standing Temporary Restraining Order, and in the absence of such paragraph, it is deemed that Petitioner, by invoking the Court's jurisdiction, has constructive notice of the Standing Temporary Restraining Order and subjects himself or herself to it.


The clerk of this court will attach, to each citation to be served, a copy of the Standing Temporary Restraining Order. Said Standing Temporary Restraining Order shall become effective on the Respondent when citation is served, a waiver of citation is signed, or actual notice in some other manner is received.


The Standing Restraining Order remains effective until the temporary hearing, if any, or if a temporary hearing is not requested by either party, until the final hearing. Should a temporary hearing be requested by either party, then the court shall determine whether the Standing Temporary Order shall remain in effect until the final hearing and absent a ruling of the court to the contrary, the Standing Restraining Order shall remain effective until the final hearing.

GuidelineS involving children

CHILD SUPPORT

All child support orders shall be payable to the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit. Child support order requires a wage withholding order (see T.F.C. §154.001).  

VISITION

Supervised Visitation: 

When supervised visitation may be in the best interest of the children, it is preferable that the parties suggest an acceptable supervisor. If none can be found then visitations through Safe Harbor in Bryan, Texas will be ordered. If you are requesting that a parent’s possession be supervised, please be prepared with the cost and availability of the proposed supervisor.


Denial of Visitation:

In custody cases, if a party believes that a child may be physically or emotionally harmed by another party, they may seek temporary/emergency relief by filing a verified pleading or an affidavit seeking to exclude the other party from possession of or access to a child (see Family Code §105.001). Unless the Court grants such relief, a party that denies another party possession of or access to a child will be viewed very unfavorably by the Court. Further, such conduct is prohibited by the Grimes County Standing Order Regarding Children, Property and Conduct of the Parties and may be punishable by contempt of court, including fine and/or imprisonment.

RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS

Decided on a case‐by‐case basis. It is the policy of this state to encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimizes the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child. See T.F.C §153.251‐252. If there is no restriction, allocation of expenses will be determined pursuant to T.F.C. §156.103. 

If both parties live in Grimes County or contiguous counties at the time of the final order, there is a rebuttable presumption that a residency restriction is in the best interest of the child. The parties may agree to otherwise or based upon evidence that there is good cause not to have a residency restriction.

CHILD INTERVIEWS

The Court will not interview a child on the day of any hearing or trial. The Court will interview children in accordance with T.F.C. §153.009, by setting a date and time for the interview separate from the trial and after all testimony is heard. Any party requesting that the Court conduct such an interview must file a pleading and contact the Court Coordinator to make the necessary scheduling arrangements. The Court firmly believes that children are far less likely to engage in candid conversation with the Court when attorneys are present or when a record of the interview is made by the court reporter; therefore, such requests are discouraged. Children shall not be brought to the courthouse unless specifically directed to do so by the Court.  

PARENTING CLASSES

 

ALL cases involving children (divorce, SAPCR, modification – except only child support related) are required to attend and complete a parenting class within 30 days of filing for petitioner and 30 days of service for Respondent. Upon completion the completed certificate SHALL be filed with the court. 


*NOTE – NO CASES WILL BE FINALIZED, OR TESTIMONY OFFERED WITHOUT THE PARENTING CERTIFICATE ON FILE WITH THE COURT AT THE TIME OF THE TRIAL. 


Proof of completion of parenting class by the Movant is required prior to commencing a hearing.


Positive Parenting Through Divorce http://www.positiveparentingthroughdivorce.com/

Putting Kids First Co-Parenting https://puttingkidsfirst.org/co-parenting-divorce-class.html

PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS

 Psychological testing will be ordered only in extreme cases after notice, hearing, and appointment of Amicus. 

SOCIAL STUDIES

 The Court strongly suggests A Social Study in all contested custody and significant possession cases. 

PATERNITY IN DIVORCE

Court will not grant a divorce if the wife is pregnant. If husband and wife agree that the Husband is not the child's biological father, paternity must be established and then the Court will proceed with the divorce action.  If the action is a waiver divorce, the waiver shall include a provision that the husband is not the biological father of the child. In a non-waiver action, the husband shall either acknowledge on the record that he is not the father of the child or include such a statement in the decree of divorce that he signs. 

FAMILY VIOLENCE STATEMENT

All temporary and final orders which contain provisions regarding the possession or conservatorship of children shall contain a statement regarding whether there has been any family violence or child abuse in the 2 years prior to the filing of the action. If the parties cannot represent to the Court that there has been no family violence or child abuse, then the parties will need to present testimony in order for the Court to make a determination that the agreement reached is in the best interest of the children. 

ATTORNEY AD LITEM/AMICUS ATTORNEY

 

Attorney ad litems/amicus required by statute: Appointments are made according to TFC, Chapter 107, Subchapter A. Ad litems/amicus attorneys are always appointed when required by law. The parties may choose their amicus/ad litem by agreement. In the absence of an agreement, the Court shall choose. 


Attorney ad litem/amicus discretionary:  The parties are free to agree to whether or not an amicus/ad item attorney is appointed. If no agreement is reached, one party may request that the court appoint an ad litem/amicus. If the Court decides that an amicus/ad litem attorney should be appointed, the parties will be given the opportunity to agree on the amicus/ad litem attorney. In the absence of an agreement, the Court shall choose.


DISCOVERY

Always personally confer before filing any motion related to discovery. Unless prohibited by a confidentiality agreement or order, state verbatim the request(s) and answer(s) in the body of your motion or attach a copy of the discovery request(s) and response(s) at issue. Proposed orders should list each discovery issue separately. Always submit a proposed order whether you are the movant or respondent.


In all cases the following items shall be exchanged within thirty days, without objection, upon a written request of counsel. Failure to exchange these items may result in sanctions being imposed on the attorney, or party, or both, as the court deems proper, to wit:

  1. Income tax returns for the previous two years.
  2. Copies of all insurance polices, including home, auto, life and medical.
  3. Copies of all promissory notes, deeds of trust and deeds evidencing ownership of real estate, including contract for deeds and time sharing contracts.
  4. Copies of all stocks, mutual fund participation and investment portfolios held by the party, in the name of the parties, or for the benefit of either parties.
  5. Copies of all documents concerning employee benefits, retirement benefits and pension funds.
  6. The preceding six (6) months statements for all credit card accounts in the name of the parties, or either party.
  7. Wage statements or statement showing year to date earnings of the party.


Motions To Compel Discovery: The Court will determine the merits of a motion to compel discovery upon submission of the motion, response, and reply, if any, consistent with the procedures and deadlines established for submission of a other motions. Upon granting or denying the motion, the Court will set a hearing for the purpose of determining whether to order the reasonable expenses incurred by the party pursuing or opposing the motion to be paid by the other party and whether further sanctions should be imposed for abuse of the discovery process. The Court strictly enforces Rule 215, TEXAS RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.

SCHEDULING ORDERS

It is not the court's policy to automatically enter a scheduling order.  Its is the court's hope that attorneys and parties can manage their case within the court's time standards with minimal court intervention.  However, if a case it too complex or if the parties/counsel are incapable of managing the progress of their own case,  the court may, at any time, on its own motion or, upon timely request of any party, issue a scheduling order which shall set appropriate deadlines and settings for the case.

  

The court will enter a scheduling order upon a parties request for a trial setting.  Time frames used are contained in the Scheduling Order. The Trial date may not be changed without written order of the Court. All other dates may be modified by filing an agreed Amended Discovery Control Plan and pursuant to Rule 11 Texas Rules of Civil Procedures. However, all Amended Discovery Plans Must be filed within 20 days of the date of this Scheduling Order. All parties shall comply with this order. Rule 4 Texas Rules of Civil Procedures shall control in computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by this order. All parties must also comply with the Courts Trial Preparation Order 

DRUG TESTS

If a party requests drug testing they must demonstrate why the request is appropriate; be prepared to also be tested; and pay for the all tests they are requesting.  In a "non-child" divorce, one must show a strong likelihood of use of illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs or alcohol and the relevance to the divorce before testing will be ordered.

SAPCR

Prior SAPCR: 

The Court prefers that a prior SAPCR be transferred into the divorce action, but the Court will accept reference of the prior SAPCR in a final decree of divorce with a copy of the prior SAPCR order attached. The Decree cannot address SAPCR issues if the prior SAPCR has not been transferred into the divorce action and the divorce pleadings do not request modification of SAPCR. If prior SAPCR is an OAG matter, the OAG must approve the decree.


Post Judgment Title IV-D

Post Judgment filings IV-D (except for Enforcements/Contempt) on cases originating as a Title IV-D case MUST be filed in the IV-D Court. The Title IV-D Associate Judge must do a referral back to the County Court at Law before this court will hear matters related to any previously filed IV-D case. If the case originated as a IV-D matter, the Attorney General MUST be noticed of the new filing before the case will be set.

CASES INVOLVING MILITARY PERSONNEL

Agreed Divorces and original and Agreed SAPCR may be proved up through Respondent or deposition by written questions if the Petitioner is assigned overseas and both parties have signed the final order. The same applies to civilians working overseas.

time standards

Family cases shall, as much as practical, be tried or dismissed within 6 months from the appearance date or within 6 months from the expiration of the waiting period provided by the Family Code where such is required, whichever is later. Cases not concluded within these time periods will be placed on the Dismissal For Want of Prosecution Docket.

ENTRY OF DECREES, FINAL ORDERS AND OTHER ORDERS

All written orders should be set on a Entry of Order setting for signing.  These dates are designated on the Court's calendar. 


After any oral hearing, the Court will designate a party or their counsel to prepare a written order consistent with the Court’s ruling and applicable law. The party or their counsel shall prepare the Order and submit it to the opposing party or counsel and e-file it within 14 days of the Court’s ruling. The opposing party or counsel has 3 days to object, in writing, to the written order. If the opposing party or counsel fails to object, the order will be signed on the entry of order date as submitted.  The Court will set the entry for a specific date in accordance with its calendar.  The entry date will be at least 20 days after the hearing allowing time for the filing of the order/decree and any objection.  


All Decrees, Final Orders, Temporary Orders or other order resulting from an MSA, agreement or settlement must be submitted within 14 days after there has been an announcement of such MSA, agreement or settlement.  The order/decree should be set on an Entry of Order date via a setting request no less than 10 days from the orders filing along with a ten-day letter advising opposing counsel/party of their right to object within ten days or the order will be signed.


If all parties/counsel sign the proposed order/decree, it will be signed as soon as it is received by the Court but, in no event, later than the entry date.


When based on a mediated settlement agreement, the terms of a final order must comply with the mediated settlement agreement. 


"FAMILY VIOLENCE STATEMENT” REQUIRED in any case with children. Failure to do so will result in court setting aside rendition (after a trial) and case will be dismissed.


Upon the failure to furnish the Court with such a judgment or order finally disposing of a case, or to request an extension of the filing or to set a motion for entry, within the 14-day period, the Court may enter an order of dismissal without prejudice with costs taxed at the Court's discretion. 

NAME CHANGE

NAME CHANGES – EXCEPT IN DIVORCE MATTERS – Require a fingerprint card AND confirmation of “no criminal record” by the appropriate authorities. The criminal background check must be filed with the District Clerk’s office prior to final hearing. Only granted upon live testimony or complete written affidavit of non-appearing party sufficient to satisfy TEX FAM CODE §45.103.


NAME CHANGES – IN DIVORCE MATTERS - Either live testimony or an affidavit is required. The affidavit is not required if the testimony is provided by the party requesting the name change. Fingerprint card is not required if done as part of the divorce. 


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