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Policies & Procedures
 
 
UNCONTESTED CASES

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.
 
Attorneys/Self Represented Parties are to list their cause number, last name of the party, Attorney Name and reason for appearance on a sign-up sheet that is provided in the court room.  If you are not represented by an attorney, go to the Don't Have an Attorney? page on the website 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.
 
UNCONTESTED CASES WHICH DO NOT REQUIRE LIVE PROVE-UP
 
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.
 
E-FILING
 
DO NOT E-FILE YOUR FINAL ORDERS.
 
Orders such as Decrees, Wage Orders, BVS and Medical Support Orders which will be proved up live in court and must be signed by the Judge must NOT be e-filed ahead of time.  Bring these orders with the appropriate attorney and party signatures to court on the uncontested or scheduled entry day and submit to the Judge to review and sign after hearing the testimony.
 
Any Order that does not need to be proved up may be E-Filed or may be tendered directly to the court.
 
All pleadings must be e-filed.
 
FRIDAY:  OPEN COURT ACCESS DAY
 
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.
 
DISCOVERY HEARINGS
 
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.
 
STATUS CONFERENCES
 
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
 
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. 
 
SUBSIDIZED MEDIATION
 
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.
 
 
MEDIATORS
 
Attorneys/Self Represented Parties may agree upon a mediator or request a particular mediator. 
 
If either party at any time requests subsidized mediation, the mediator MUST be appointed from the Approved Mediator's Wheel by the court.   If you have previously agreed upon a mediator and either party requests and is qualified for subsidized mediation, the agreed or requested mediator will be removed and a new mediator from the Approved Mediator's Wheel will be appointed.
 
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 from the Approved Mediator's Wheel.
 
TEMPORARY HEARINGS
 
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.
 
DE NOVO HEARINGS
 
Mediation is mandatory before any De Novo hearing will be held based upon an appeal of an Associate Judge’s ruling.
 
The parties may agree on a mediator or one will be appointed from the Approved Mediator's Wheel.  Subsidized mediation requests mandates appointment from the Approved Mediator's Wheel.
 
The mediator will be appointed at the time the De Novo hearing is scheduled.
 
PARENTING CLASSES
 
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
 
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.
 
FINAL HEARINGS
 
All final hearings begin at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. unless notified otherwise by the court.
 
DEFAULT HEARINGS
 
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
 
Pre-Trials shall be held two Fridays before the week of the trial at 10:00 a.m.    Parties must have the following prepared for the Pretrial hearing.
 
 
 
2.    Exhibit list
 
3.    All exhibits must be marked and exchanged at or before the Pre-trial hearing.
 
4.    Witness list
 
5.    All pre-trial motions
 
6.    Proof of mediation
 
7.    Parenting Class Certificate of Attendance.
 
Any evidence or witnesses NOT provided at the pre-trial will NOT be admitted.  All evidence and witnesses not objected to at the pre-trial WILL be admitted.  All other witness and exhibit issues will be heard immediately prior to commencement of trial.
Jury Trials and Bench Trials Estimated to Last More Than One Day
 
Parties shall appear at the pre-trial with the following:
 
 
2.    Exhibit List
 
3.    All exhibits marked with a copy for all parties
 
4.    Witness list
 
5.    All pre-trial motions
 
6.    Proof of mediation
 
7.    Parenting Class Certificate of Attendance.
 
 
CONTINUANCES
 
            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. 

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 by email to the court coordinator at Jaclyn.Cobb-Chavez@co.galveston.tx.us. 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.