280th Harris County District Court

Harris County’s 280th District Court oversees domestic violence protective orders. It is important to note if you or a loved one are scheduled to appear in this court that Texas’ protective order statute is wide in scope and does not necessarily limit violence to physical contact. Domestic violence protective orders addressed in this court also include dating and post-divorce relationships.

Before appearing in the 280th District Court, it is best to ensure that you are familiar with the appropriate policies and procedures to avoid any problems or delays.

The 280th District Court at a Glance

The 280th District Court is located within the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center (7th floor) on Congress in downtown Houston. The Honorable Barbara J. Stalder is the presiding judge at the 280th District Court. Those parties with specific questions regarding this court may want to contact the court by phone at 713-274-4680.

Brief History of Judge Stalder’s Role in the 280TH District Court

The Honorable Barbara J. Stalder was elected to preside over the 280th District Court in 2018. Judge Stalder is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and acted as an Amicus for children involved in contested custody matters prior to serving on the bench.

Docket Structure of the 280TH District Court

The 280th District Court has a specific docket structure that it abides by. As of February 2020, the docket schedule used by the court is as follows:


  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Hearing of cases filed by AVDA or other agencies
  • Hearing of private counsel and self-represented litigants’ PO’s


  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Hearing of Harris County District Attorney Protective Order Cases
  • Hearing of cases filed by AVDA or other agencies


  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Hearing of Harris County District Attorney Protective Order Cases


  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Hearing of Harris County District Attorney Protective Order Cases


  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Hearing of private counsel and self-represented litigants’ PO’s

Key Policies and Procedures of the 280TH District Court of Harris Co., TX

The 280th District Court operates under a specific set of policies and procedures. Although more in depth information regarding these policies and procedures can be found directly on the court’s website, a partial summary as of February 2020 can be found listed below:

  • Attorneys and litigants are required to contact the court if they will be running late. Failure to do so could result in the case proceeding without them or the case being dismissed.
  • All parties must check in with the bailiff upon arriving in the courtroom.
  • Respondents and applicants generally sit on the opposite sides of the courtroom and must sit where the bailiff directs them.
  • Temporary Ex Parte Orders are determined based on the affidavit filed with the application per the TFC. Live testimony is required for Kick Out Order requests.
  • Address and TCIC forms should be filed at the same time as the Application for Protective Order.
  • Exhibits should be pre-marked and exchanged in advance of all hearings. Additional rules regarding exhibits may be found on the court’s website.
  • If a Respondent in a protective order hearing has firearms and the order is granted, they must follow the court’s specific orders regarding the guardianship of those firearms.
  • When a PO is granted, all Respondents must complete a Respondent Information form and provide a photo ID.
  • Attorneys must either file an Answer or Notice of Appearance before the hearing.
  • Respondents with less than 48 hours’ notice may be given a reset date.
  • PO hearings are given a maximum of four hours, with two hours for each side.
  • Interpreters must be certified and/or approved by the Court in advance of a hearing.
  • Court may appoint an Amicus if warranted.
  • If a Respondent is required to attend a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, they must choose one approved by the court.
  • The court handles protective order matters under the Texas Family Code Protective Orders and all Criminal Protective Code Orders.
  • Applicants are not mandated to be present in the courtroom during the docket call. The court will provide them with a secure location to wait until their case is called.

What To Know Before You Go

Individuals appearing in the the 280th District Court, should make every effort to dress professionally and appropriately and be on time. Note that road and courthouse traffic can be heavy at times and may require attorneys and litigants to allow extra time for unexpected delays.

As a general rule, those appearing in the court room should refrain from being on electronic devices and should exhibit respect for the matter at hand.

Attorneys may bring beverages in the court room if it has a lid. However, litigants may not bring drink or food into the courthouse.

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