247th Family Court

If you or a loved one is scheduled to do business in or appear at Harris County’s 247th Family Court, it may help alleviate some apprehension to learn more about this specific court and what litigants can expect. The family law courts of Harris County all serve a common purpose, but some of their daily schedules and procedures can differ. By becoming familiar with the 247th Family District Court’s location, leadership, docket schedule, and other helpful tips, litigants can have more peace of mind going forward.

The 247TH Family District Court at a Glance

There are fifteen courts in Harris County that handle family law cases. Although most of them are located within the Harris County Civil Courthouse on 201 Caroline, Houston, Texas, 77002, not all of the courts are on the same floor. The 247th Family District Court is located on the fifteenth floor of the building.

Individuals who have further questions about the court’s location or other concerns, may want to contact the court by phone at 713.274.1247. The presiding judge over the 247th Family District Court is The Honorable Janice Berg. The associate judge for the court is The Honorable Bethany Arnold.

Brief History of Judge Berg’s Role in the 247TH Family Court

For roughly eight years, the Honorable Janice Berg represented family law cases in Houston at the trial level, in the Courts of Appeals, and at the Texas Supreme Court. Her upbringing as the child of a single parent enables her to better understand the impact of divorce. Judge Berg was elected to preside over the 247th Family District Court in 2018 and was preceded by Judge Schmude.

Docket Structure of the 247TH Family District Court

It is not unusual for each of the Harris County family law courts to have their own docket schedule. From court to court this docket schedule can vary. However, for the 247th Family District Court the docket schedule is as follows as of 2019:

Monday

  • Uncontested Docket 8:30 a.m.
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Trials are generally set for every other Monday

Tuesday

  • Uncontested Docket 8:30 a.m.
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Hearings for temporary orders and ancillary matters
  • CPS hearings

Wednesday

  • Uncontested Docket 8:30 a.m.
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Hearings for temporary orders and ancillary matters
  • Enforcement hearings

Thursday

  • Uncontested Docket 8:30 a.m.
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Hearings for temporary orders and ancillary matters

Friday

  • Uncontested Docket 8:30 a.m.
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Submission docket 1:30 p.m.
  • Discovery motion hearings 1:30 p.m.

Key Policies and Procedures of the 247TH Family District Court of Harris Co., TX

Much like the docket schedule, each Harris County family court also has their own set of policies and procedures that all litigators and litigants are expected to follow. The below partial summaries are some of the 247th Family District Court’s procedures as of December 2019:

  • Temporary order hearings could be restricted to one hour per party. These motions are to be supported by an affidavit and require court approval.
  • Payment history from the Texas State Disbursement Unit is required for child support enforcement cases. If incarceration is requested, a Proposed Commitment Order is necessary at the hearing. Commitment Orders should be entered no later than 2 p.m. on the date of incarceration.
  • In emergencies, CPS hearings may be held outside of Tuesdays.
  • Mediation is necessary preceding all temporary orders hearings and final trials. In many cases, failure to do mediation before the trial can result in the case’s dismissal.
  • For cases that involve children: The child’s full name should be noted. A statement regarding their health insurance availability is often required for an initial plea. Birth certificates are required for final hearings regarding a child’s name change.
  • Pre-trial conferences are necessary for all jury trials. Typically, these are scheduled ten days before the trial. Review the court’s Pre-trial Conference Checklist for Jury Trials with your lawyer beforehand.
  • In regard to adoption cases, the court’s Adoption Pre-trial Checklist should be completed and submitted to the 247th court coordinator before a final hearing.
  • Ex parte temporary restraining orders are expected to be joint and mutual, however some exceptions may be possible.
  • An amicus attorney may be appointed by the court if possession, conservatorship, or access to a child is disputed.
  • Proposed property division for divorce matters should be presented at the final trial in the form of Excel or Google Sheets on a USB drive.

What To Know Before You Go

When appearing in any courtroom, there are expectations of decorum. While some of these guidelines are general and apply to many courtrooms, others are specific to the 247th Family District Court. If appearing in this court, it would be wise to adhere to the following standards:

  • Be on time. Most courts work diligently to stay on schedule. Respect this effort by making allowances for road and court traffic and appear on time.
  • Professional dress is required. Men should appear in slacks, collared button-down shirts, and close toed shoes and socks. Women may wear something similar or equally professional.
  • Food and chewing gum are prohibited in court.
  • Beverages are generally not allowed with the exception of parties and attorneys who wish to have them at the counsel table.
  • Electronic devices, including cell phones, should be put in silent mode or turned off while inside the courtroom.
  • No photography or videoing is allowed inside the courtroom with the exception of some adoption cases.
  • Children are not allowed in the courtroom unless given express advance approval by the court. Children to be interviewed by a judge in their chamber report to the court’s front office at their previously designated time.


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