310th Family Court

If you or a loved one are scheduled to appear at Harris County’s 310th Family Court, it is recommended that both litigators and litigants be familiar with the court’s basic information, leadership, and policies in advance. This type of research can lead to a more coordinated effort regarding your case, as well as an added level of comfort in knowing what to expect inside the 310th courtroom.

The 310TH Family Court at a Glance

The 310th Family Court is located within the Harris County Civil Courthouse on Caroline in downtown Houston. Not all of the courts that hear family law cases are on the same floor, so it is of particular importance to note that the 310th court is located on the fifteenth floor of the courthouse. Those parties with specific questions regarding the court may choose to phone the court’s main line at 713-274-1310.

The Honorable Sonya L. Heath is the presiding judge at the 310th Family Court and the associate judge is The Honorable Charles Collins.

Brief History of Judge Heath’s Role in the 310TH Family Court

The Honorable Sonya L. Heath was elected to preside over the 310th Family Court in 2018. Judge Heath is licensed to practice law and is estimated to have handled well over five hundred cases prior to earning a spot on the bench.

Docket Structure of the 310TH Family District Court

The 310th Family Court has a specific docket structure that it abides by. Not all courts that oversee family law cases use the same docket schedule. As of 2019, the docket schedule used by the 310th court is as follows:

Monday

  • Uncontested docket 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (except for December 23, 2019 through December 27, 2019)
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Trials

Tuesday

  • Uncontested docket 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (except for December 23, 2019 through December 27, 2019)
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • CPS hearings (emergency cases may be heard on a different day or time)

Wednesday

  • Uncontested docket 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (except for December 23, 2019 through December 27, 2019)
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Enforcement actions

Thursday

  • Uncontested docket 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (except for December 23, 2019 through December 27, 2019)
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Temporary orders

Friday

  • Uncontested docket 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (except for December 23, 2019 through December 27, 2019)
  • Docket call 9:30 a.m.
  • Entries of orders
  • Discovery disputes 1:30 p.m.

Key Policies and Procedures of the 310TH Family District Court of Harris Co., TX

The 310th Family Court also operates under a specific set of policies and procedures. Although more in-depth information regarding these policies and procedures can be found on the court’s website, a partial summary as of 2019 can be found listed below:

  • For uncontested dockets, all required documents must be e-filed two business days prior to arriving in court. It is recommended to first review the court’s Required Orders and Forms for Entry of Final Decree/Order in its entirety.
  • To prove up an uncontested matter at a time other than weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., contact the coordinator to ensure a judge’s availability. All required documents listed in the court’s Required Orders and Forms for Entry of Final Decree/Order document must be filed in advance.
  • Adoption cases are not eligible for the uncontested docket.
  • Mediation is necessary before temporary and final orders/decrees in contested matters.
  • For child support enforcement cases, a payment history from the Texas Office of the Attorney General is required. If incarceration is ordered, the deadline for commitment orders is 2 p.m. on the day of.
  • Temporary orders may be limited to a maximum of forty-five minutes for each party. Requests for temporary orders in modification cases must be supported by an affidavit and approved by a judge.
  • Discovery disputes are not granted unless a certificate of conference is presented. Motions to quash depositions may be permitted in some circumstances.
  • Mediation is necessary for all temporary orders in contested cases, however, there could be some exceptions to this rule. If a party is denied possession of their child, a court may choose to waive the mediation requirement. However, in most cases, if mediation does not occur it could result in the dismissal of the case.
  • Final trial exhibits should be submitted on a USB drive and a hard paper copy should also be provided to the court.
  • Sworn inventory with proper back up documentation must be filed prior to prove up of a default divorce.
  • An agreement incident to divorce has to be approved by the court unless it is binding under a separate rule of law.
  • Pretrial conferences are required for all jury trials.
  • Status conferences are required for all adoption cases.
  • SIJS cases must have a status conference. This is typically set by the coordinator and held on Fridays at 9:30 a.m.
  • Ex parte temporary restraining orders must be joint and mutual in most cases.
  • The court may appoint attorney ad litem or an amicus attorney as they see fit.
  • Litigants involved in a custody dispute are required to complete a four-hour parenting class prior to the trial and the court may extend the class if they choose.

What To Know Before You Go

The 310th Family Court has a specific dress code that must be honored. The following types of clothing and attire are prohibited in the courtroom: t-shirts, halter or tube tops, tank tops, miniskirts, skorts, shorts, strapless or spaghetti strap sundresses, flip flops, and slippers. Parties should not exhibit a bare midriff or other overly exposed areas of skin and should not be dressed in a provocative or flashy manner.

In addition to being dressed appropriately, litigants should take care to appear in court in a timely manner. Unless the court has requested the appearance of a child, proper childcare arrangements should be made in your absence.

Electronic devices are to be silenced or turned off when in the courtroom.

In the 310th court, the following is prohibited: food, beverages, chewing gum, photography, videos, and audio recordings. Some exceptions may be made at the court’s discretion.