Welcome to the latest update from Beveridge Law Firm, PLLC! In this post, we provide a comprehensive overview of the local rules and procedures governing family law cases in the 306th District Court. If you’re a parent navigating the complexities of divorce, modifications, or other family-related legal matters, understanding the court’s policies is crucial. From uncontested cases and e-filing requirements to mediation mandates and rules for temporary hearings, we break down the essential information to help you navigate the legal landscape effectively. Stay informed about crucial aspects such as status conferences, withdrawals, and communication protocols with the court. At Beveridge Law Firm, we are committed to ensuring our clients have access to the knowledge they need to make informed decisions during challenging times. Read on to empower yourself with insights into the 306th District Court’s policies that directly impact parents in family law cases
- Affidavit of Facts is sufficient for uncontested cases; live hearings are not necessary unless ordered by the Court.
- Final orders (except modifications) require the filing of an Affidavit or Declaration of Facts.
- Adoption prove-ups must be in-person.
- All pleadings must be e-filed.
- Associate Judge Emily Fisher’s Court handles all discovery disputes.
- Requests for discovery hearings must include a Certificate of Conference.
- All cases get a Status Conference Date approximately 120 days from filing.
- Status Reports, including trial readiness, must be e-filed by attorneys or self-represented parties.
- If an agreement is expected, the conference may be reset for up to 90 days.
- If litigation is necessary, a Docket Control Order must be entered.
- Mandatory before any final trial on the merits.
- Non-cooperation with mediation may lead to sanctions.
- Subsidized mediation orders must be signed promptly.
- Held in Associate Judge’s Court.
- Failure to bring required documents may result in rescheduling.
- Child must be brought to the court for hearings involving Judge’s conference with the child.
De Novo Hearings:
- Mandatory mediation before De Novo hearings unless ordered otherwise.
- Failure to cooperate with mediation may result in sanctions.
- Mandatory for all parents before contested final hearings on custody, possession, access, etc.
- Allowed with agreement; no hearing if agreed by all parties and the client.
- Hearing set if not signed by all parties.
- Begin at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. unless notified otherwise.
- Certified mail or personal service required for notice.
- Email notifications not sufficient without prior court approval.
- Held two Fridays before trial week at 10:00 a.m.
- Mandatory attendance; failure may affect trial setting.
- Required production of proof of mediation and parenting class attendance.
- Unopposed continuances allowed once with written agreement; subsequent hearings required.
- Continuances not agreed upon by all parties heard on Friday mornings.
Communicating with the Court:
- Primary communication through email to court coordinator.
- Emails must include the cause number and be copied to all parties.
- Telecommunications reserved for urgent matters.
JUDGE ANNE B. DARRING
All uncontested cases such as divorces, modifications, suit affecting parent-child relationships, parentage and name changes will be proven up by an Affidavit of Facts without the necessity of a live hearing unless it is ordered by the Court.
No final orders will be signed (with the exception of modifications) unless an Affidavit or Declaration of Facts has been filed.
No uncontested hearings will be allowed unless scheduled ahead of time.
Adoption prove-ups must be in-person.
All Pleadings must be E-Filed.
All discovery disputes will be held in Associate Judge Emily Fisher’s Court.
All requests for discovery hearings must have a Certificate of Conference as part of the pleadings.
All cases filed in the 306th District Court will be given a Status Conference Date. That date will be approximately 120 days from the date of filing. The Attorney or Self-represented party must e-file a Status Report apprising the court of the status and trial readiness of the case.
Click this link for the form: STATUS REPORT TO THE COURT.
If an Agreement is Expected
If the parties are close to an agreement or working on a reconciliation, the Status Conference may be re-set for up to 90 days.
If the case is not resolved or dismissed by that time, a Docket Control Order must be entered.
If Litigation is Necessary
The following information MUST be provided in all Status Reports/Letters:
- All Parties’ and attorneys’ names and email addresses
- Contested issues, (Custody, visitation, property, etc.)
- Suggested week/month for trial setting,
- Hours/days needed for trial
- Any vacation letters or conflicts for scheduling
- Whether mediation for Final Orders has been completed
- Jury or Bench Trial
Alternatively, the Attorneys and Self-represented Parties may file a proposed DOCKET CONTROL ORDER – Non Jury or DOCKET CONTROL ORDER – Jury Trial leaving blank the pre-trial and trial dates with requests for potential trial weeks on the Status Conference Day.
Mediation is mandatory before any final trial on the merits. Any party who does NOT cooperate with scheduling and/or attending mediation will be sanctioned and/or ordered to pay attorneys’ fees. Upon motion and hearing, mediation may be waived by the Judge in unusual circumstances such as minimal or no property, family assault charges, incarceration of one of the parties, etc.
If the Parties appear for Pre-trial without proof of mediation or with proof that mediation is scheduled, then mediation will be ORDERED immediately with an on-site mediator from the court’s mediator list.
Orders for Subsidized Mediation must be signed before the end of the day in which the Mediation occurred. Motion for Subsidized Mediation must be E-Filed. Contact the court if your motion has been filed and the order cannot be found on the District Clerk’s website. We will assist you in determining the status of the order.
A Mediator WILL be appointed when the Temporary Restraining Order, Notice of Temporary Orders or Docket Control Order is entered. The parties may subsequently agree to another mediator but those mediation costs will NOT be subsidized for either party.
All Temporary Hearings shall be held in the Associate Judge’s Court on the third floor of the courthouse at the opposite end of the hall from the 306th Courtroom.
All Temporary Hearings are scheduled at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A docket will be called promptly at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and any litigants not present at that docket call may have a default entered against them or will forfeit their setting.
Parties shall come to hearings with the following information along with copies for the opposing parties:
In Divorce cases:
Tax returns, pay stubs and income information
Financial Information Statement listing all monthly income and all monthly expenses (The form provided on this Website may be used or any other format which shows the party’s monthly income and expenses).
In Modifications and Suits involving Children:
Tax Returns, pay stubs and income information
Failure to bring these documents to court, may result in the hearing being re-set upon request of opposing party.
In Temporary Hearings in which there is a motion for the Judge to confer with the child, the child must be brought to the court at the time of the hearing.
DE NOVO HEARINGS
Mediation is mandatory before any De Novo hearing unless mediation occurred before the temporary orders or otherwise ordered by the court.
The court will designate the mediator for the De Novo hearing if mediation is required.
Any party who does not cooperate in scheduling and attending a mediation will be sanctioned.
All PARENTS must attend a Parenting class prior to any contested final hearing regarding custody, possession, access, geographic restriction or permanent injunctions. Parenting class is not required in child support disputes. If a Parent has attended a parenting class within the last five years, attendance is waived.
Withdrawals of Representation as Attorney of Record will be allowed in most instances. If the Motion to Withdrawal is agreed by all parties and the client with signatures on the motion or order, no hearing is necessary.
If the Motion for Withdrawal is not signed by all, a hearing will be set by submission.
Attorney may notice client by email provided that there is proof that the email address
used to notice the client has been regularly used between the Attorney and client.
All final hearings begin at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. unless notified otherwise by the court.
All opposing parties must be served AND notified by certified mail, return receipt requested of any default hearing a party wishes to obtain. The green card or a track and receive statement from the U.S. Postal Service must be provided.
E-Mail notifications are not sufficient notice for a default unless approved ahead of time by the court. The notice must be by U.S. Postal Service or by personal service by process server.
Pre-Trials shall be held two Fridays before the week of the trial at 10:00 a.m.
Attendance at pretrial is MANDADORY. Failure to appear at pretrial could affect your trial setting.
The following shall be produced at the Pre-trial conference.
- Proof of Mediation
- Parenting Class Certificate of Attendance.
At the pretrial, the parties will be given a deadline to supplement exhibits and tender objections to exhibits to opposing party. The deadline is usually as follows:
1. Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. preceding the trial: All exhibits must be tendered to opposing party.
2. Friday, 5:00 p.m. preceding the trial: All objections to exhibits based upon discovery, relevance or technical admissibility challenges.
In most cases, with written agreement by all parties, cases may be continued once. A Motion for Continuance with all signatures must be e-filed before it will be considered.
After the first continuance, there must be a hearing before the court will allow another continuance unless there are exigent circumstances.
Parties may appear together and confer with the Judge regarding any continuance. (Remember, ALL Counsel/Self-Represented Parties must be present or the moving party must provide proof that all parties were notified).
Continuances Not Agreed Upon by All Parties
Continuance hearings will be held in front Judge Darring on Friday mornings. The party requesting the continuance must notify all other parties of the hearing date.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE COURT
Communication with the court on settings, follow-up on pleadings, checking on the status of signatures on Temporary Restraining Orders, or procedural questions that are out of the ordinary should primarily be addressed by email to the court coordinator at [email protected].
Emails are checked regularly throughout the day and will be replied promptly.
When sending an email regarding a case, be sure to put the cause number in the email header. A case without a cause number in the header may be disregarded due to the court’s inability to recognized the case to which it refers. All correspondence by email must be copied to all parties and must state that all parties have been copied.
Telecommunications should be reserved for urgent matters.