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Policies & Procedures
All uncontested cases such as divorces, modifications, suit affecting parent-child relationships, parentage, adoptions and name changes will be heard Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.  On Fridays, uncontested cases will be heard from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Self-represented parties with uncontested cases will be heard ONLY on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Attorneys/Self Represented Parties are to list their cause number, last name of the party and Attorney Name or “Self Represented” on a sign-up sheet that is provided in the court room. See the Self Represented Parties page for information on the procedure for finalizing a case in this court.
            Documents Required at Prove Up
1.    Final Orders
2.    Wage Order (If there are children and child support is ordered)
5.    Medical Support Order (If agreed or referenced in decree).
Parties represented by Attorneys will be heard first in the order on the sign-up sheet.  Self Represented Parties will be heard last to give the Judge the opportunity to review the orders.
All cases before the court which have never had a final order entered in the case must have at least one party appear and testify.
All modifications may be finalized without a hearing or prove-up.
All Pleadings must be E-Filed.
Orders such as Decrees, Wage Orders, BVS and Medical Support Orders which will be proved up live in court should NOT be e-filed ahead of time.  Bring these orders with the appropriate signatures to court on the uncontested or scheduled entry day and submit to the Judge to review during the testimony.
Any Order that does not need to be proved up may be E-Filed or may be tendered directly to the court.
Each Friday from 9:00 a.m. until noon the Judge will hear uncontested hearings, pre-trial hearings, other minor pre-scheduled hearings such as Attorney withdrawals and substitutions, continuances as well as any other short hearings which Attorneys require conference with the Judge. 
Uncontested cases will be heard first.  Then cases which have be scheduled such as entry hearings, continuances, withdrawals, etc. 
At 10:00 a.m. the Pre-trials will be conducted. 
If the Parties come to the court any time between 9:00 a.m. and noon on Friday, their case may be brought to the court when the court finishes it’s scheduled hearings.
If all parties on a case wish a short hearing, they may appear by agreement between them on any given Friday and approach in the order that they appear in court or have signed on the sign-up sheet.  Complex and protracted hearings will be re-set to another day.
All discovery disputes will be held in Associate Judge Steve Baker’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 may appear and meet with the Court Coordinator or may fax or e-file a Status Report.
A Status Report format may be in the form found in my forms and documents Status Report or may simply be a letter.
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:
1.    Contested issues, (Custody, visitation, property, etc.)
2.    Time necessary to prepare for trial,
3.    Hours/days needed for trial
4.    Preferred mediator, (if any)
5.    Any vacation letters or conflicts for scheduling
6.    Jury or Bench Trial
Alternatively, the Attorneys and Self Represented Parties may file a 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.
Attorneys and SR Parties who would like a confirmed trial date on Status Conference day must appear at the Status Conference and meet with the Court Coordinator.
Otherwise, you will receive your trial and other docket control order dates within one week of Status Conference date.
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
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.
Attorneys and Parties may agree upon a mediator or request a particular mediator. If one party requests a specific mediator and the other does not specify a preferred mediator in their Status Report, then the requested mediator will be appointed.  If the parties request different mediators or cannot agree on a mediator, then a mediator will be appointed in order of the mediator list maintained by the court.
If either of the parties will be requiring subsidized mediation, they will be ordered to use a mediator appointed by the court and will NOT be allowed to designate their mediator.
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 including 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 cases 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.
Mediation is mandatory before any De Novo hearing will be held based upon an appeal of an Associate Judge’s ruling.
The court will designate the mediator for the De Novo hearing.
Any party who does not cooperate in scheduling and attending a mediation will be fined.
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 for 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 scheduled on a Friday morning and the client and all parties must be notified by the movant.
Attorney may notice client by email provided that there is proof that the email address
used to notice the client has been a regular form of communication 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 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.  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
The following shall be produced at the Pre-trial conference.
2.    Exhibit list
3.   Witness list
4.    All pre-trial motions
5.    Proof of mediation
6.    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.
            Any evidence or witnesses NOT provided at the pre-trial or pursuant to the above referenced deadlines will NOT be admitted.   All witness and exhibit issues will be heard immediately prior to commencement of trial.    
            Unopposed Continuances
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 on any Open Court Friday 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. 


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 by email to the court coordinator at Emails are checked regularly throughout the day and will be replied promptly.
Facsimile correspondence regarding the cases at 409.765.2936 is also acceptable.
When sending an email or facsimile correspondence, be sure to put the cause number, the party’s name and a return phone number.  All correspondence by email or facsimile must be copied to all parties and must state that all parties have been copied.
Telecommunications should be reserved for urgent matters.