COURT POLICIES FOR THE 303RD DISTRICT COURT



1. APPEALS: The Associate Judge's rulings on all temporary matters shall be reduced to a temporary order and signed by the District Judge. The Associate Judge's ruling will be in full force and effect pending an appeal, unless a stay is granted. If the appeal hearing is going to take longer than 30 minutes, the attorneys shall schedule a conference with the District Judge. The District Judge will specially set the de novo hearing at the conference with the attorneys. A final order based on an Associate Judge's ruling shall not be signed pending appeal to the trial court, otherwise the appellant will lose his/her right to appeal to the trial court.

2. CHILD SUPPORT: All new orders containing provisions for child support shall be paid through the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit and monitored by the Dallas County Child Support Office. All child support modification orders shall provide that the child support shall be paid through the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit and monitored by the Dallas County Child Support Office. In cases in which child support is currently being paid through the Guardian Ad Litem program and no modification is being sought, the case may be removed from this program at the request of a party.

The Court will not sign any child support order, including temporary orders, which is not accompanied by a wage withholding order.

3. CONTEMPT: Motions for contempt are heard on Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. No motion for contempt seeking punishment will be heard without a proposed contempt order and order of commitment.

4. DISMISSAL DOCKET: All causes of action shall be maintained on a dismissal docket. Each case shall be set for dismissal six months from the filing date. After you receive notice of the dismissal date, you may write or e-mail the Court Coordinator to request that the case be retained on the docket. A request to retain your case on the docket will be considered only if the request is received prior to the Dismissal Docket date. The Court Coordinator will respond to you in the same form (e-mail or letter) you used to contact the Court Coordinator. The Court Coordinator will notify you of either (1) a new Dismissal Docket setting, or (2) set the matter on a Dismissal Review Docket before the Associate Judge. You must appear before the Associate Judge if your matter is set on the Dismissal Review Docket. If you obtain a pre-trial or trial setting after your case is set on the Dismissal Docket, the Court Coordinator will automatically remove the dismissal setting and reset it on a Dismissal Docket setting after the pre-trial or trial setting.

5. FINAL ORDERS: Pursuant to Local Rule 8.02, within 30 days after the Court has rendered judgment or there has been an announcement by the parties that the case has settled, the ruling or settlement shall be reduced to writing. 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 30 day period, the Court shall enter an order of dismissal without prejudice with costs taxed at the Court's discretion.

6. MEDIATION: Mediation is mandatory in all contested cases unless waived by the Court. The Court will appoint a mediator if the attorneys/parties are unable to agree to a mediator. If the parties are unable to afford a private mediator, the Court will refer the matter to Family Court Services or DMS for mediation. Attorneys are required to attend mediation with Family Court Services unless, prior to mediation, a Rule 11 agreement is filed waiving the right to rescind the mediated settlement agreement because the attorneys did not appear and/or sign it.

7. NAME CHANGE: A name change will only be granted upon the presentation of (1) testimony from the person seeking the name change or (2) a written affidavit from the person seeking a name change sufficient to satisfy Tex. Fam. Code 45.103.

8. PARENTING CLASSES: In all contested cases involving children, except child support actions, the parties shall attend an approved divorce education course such as Children in the Middle, Dallas OK, EXCAP or For Kid's Sake.

9. PATERNITY ISSUE IN DIVORCE: If either a husband or wife denies the husband's paternity of a child born during the marriage, the Court will proceed with the divorce action if there are appropriate pleadings on file with an affidavit of status. 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.

10. PRIOR SAPCR: If there is a final order in a prior SAPCR action, then you may either (1) transfer the SAPCR into the divorce action, or (2) refer to the SAPCR action and attach a copy of the SAPCR order to the decree of divorce. Terms of the prior SAPCR order cannot be modified by the divorce decree unless you elect to transfer the SAPCR into the divorce action.

11. PRO SE PROVE-UPS: Prior to a pro se proving up his/her divorce or other action, he/she must submit to the clerk of the 303rd the proposed order. The proposed order will be reviewed by the Associate Judge. The Associate Judge must approve the proposed order before the matter may be proved-up. The proposed order must be submitted to the clerk of the 303rd Court at least 14 days before the estimated date of the prove-up. Once the order has been approved, the matter may be proved-up on any Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m.

12. FAMILY VIOLENCE: 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.

13. RESIDENCY RESTRICTION: This issue will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

14. SOCIAL STUDIES: A social study is required in all contested custody cases, unless waived by the Court.

15. STIPULATION DIVORCES: No stipulation divorces will be heard.

16. TRIAL: All trial settings are obtained at a pre-trial setting. You may request a pre-trial setting from the Court Administrator. All attorneys and pro se litigants shall appear for the pre-trial setting with their calendars and shall be prepared to discuss the issues. Failure to appear at the pre-trial setting will result in dismissal for want of prosecution and a default judgment being entered. In all contested custody matters, a social study and mediation must be completed prior to the trial date. In all contested property matters, mediation must occur before the trial date. In addition, the parties must file sworn inventories and a proposed property division before trial. If the matter is to be tried to a jury, the parties must submit a proposed jury charge to the Court and the other parties prior to trial. The jury charge shall be submitted to the Court on a CD and in writing.