309th Family Court

Family law matters in Harris County are heard at eighteen different courts, one of which is the 309th Family District Court. Most lawyers recommend that their clients review the history, leadership, and policies of the court in which they are due to appear. This research can lead to a smoother courtroom experience for litigants during what can be an already stressful time.

The 309TH Family Court at a Glance

The 309th Family District Court is just one of the family courts housed inside the Harris County Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline, Houston, Texas, 77002. Please note that not all courts are located on the same floor of the building, and the 309th court is located on the sixteenth floor. For questions or concerns regarding the 309th Family Court, the court’s phone number is listed as 713-274-4520.

The Honorable Judge Linda Marie Dunson presides over the 309th Family District Court, and the associate judge for the court is The Honorable Tracy D. Good. The court generally oversees matters pertaining to divorce, child support, adoption, child protective services, and more.

Brief History of Judge Dunson’s Role in the 309TH Family Court

Judge Dunson was elected in 2018 to preside over the 309th Family District Court. She believes that family is the backbone of the country and that children are the future. During her time serving on the 309th court, she expects fairness, equality, and justice to prevail.

Docket Structure of the 309TH Family District Court

Each of the Harris County Courts that oversees family law cases tends to have a unique docket schedule. The 309th Family District Court is no different, and as of 2019, the docket schedule is as follows:

Monday

  • Uncontested matters 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Trials

Tuesday

  • Uncontested matters 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Temporary orders
  • Ancillary matters

Wednesday

  • Uncontested matters 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Temporary orders
  • Ancillary matters
  • Enforcement actions/DRO/AG

Thursday

  • Uncontested matters 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Temporary orders
  • Ancillary matters
  • CPS Hearings

Friday

  • Uncontested matters 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Docket call 9 a.m.
  • Entries of orders
  • Pretrial
  • Discovery disputes 1:30 p.m.

Key Policies and Procedures of the 309TH Family District Court of Harris Co., TX

For each of the courts that hear family law cases, their policies and procedures may also be unique. As of 2019, the policies and procedures of the 309th Family District Court are as follows:

  • Uncontested matters are weekday mornings from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. unless the court becomes available and the litigants are present. Those parties wishing to prove up an uncontested matter at a different time should consult the coordinator to ensure a judge’s availability. No cases will be heard unless all necessary documents as listed in the court’s Required Orders and Forms for Entry of Final Decree/Order are filed.
  • Expect temporary order hearings to be limited to one hour for each party. A request for these orders in a modification case must be supported by an affidavit and sanctioned by a judge.
  • Child support enforcement cases require an official payment history from the Texas Office of the Attorney General. If incarceration is requested, a commitment order must be brought to the hearing and be entered no later than 2 p.m. on the date of incarceration.
  • For Entries of Orders, all documents listed on the court’s Required Orders and Forms for Entry of Final Decree/Order must be filed. Without the proper submitted forms, the case could be dismissed.
  • In regard to Discovery Disputes, requests for hearings are not typically granted unless a certificate of conference is filed in advance. Motions to quash depositions may be granted if it is based on the unavailability of the witness or lawyer and three alternative dates are provided.
  • Mediation is a necessary requirement before a final trial, however, there could be some exceptions. If litigants seek an exception, they should file that motion a minimum of ten days before the trial. The case could be dismissed if no mediation takes place.
  • Mediation is also required for temporary orders regarding complex property issues or conservatorship disputes, except in some cases in which a party is being denied possession of the party’s child.
  • Sworn inventory is required to be on file before prove up of a default divorce.
  • Agreement incidents to divorce have to be approved by the court.
  • Pretrial conferences are required for all jury trials and are usually scheduled seventeen days prior to trial. Please review the court’s Pretrial Conference Checklist beforehand.
  • Pretrial conferences are also required for adoption cases.
  • Off docket approaches must be signed up for and will be heard at end of the uncontested docket or by appointment.
  • Ex parte temporary restraining orders must be joint and mutual, with some exceptions to this rule.
  • Parties requesting that a parent’s possession be supervised must be willing to pay to cover the cost associated with providing a proposed supervisor.
  • The court may appoint an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem as appropriate.
  • Litigants involved in a custody dispute are required to complete a four-hour parenting class before the trial. The court may order an extended parenting class if it is deemed necessary.

What To Know Before You Go

If you or a loved one is set to appear in the 309th Family District Court, be sure to follow these guidelines when in the courtroom:

  • Arrive on time.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Be respectful.
  • Silence or turn off all electronic devices.
  • Do not bring chewing gum, food, or drink.
  • Make arrangements for proper childcare unless the court has specifically requested the presence of your child.