Court Information for All Family Law Courts in DFW Metroplex
As a convenience for you, these are the various Family Law Courts and Court locations for Collin, Denton, Dallas, Tarrant, Grayson, Rockwall, Kaufman and Ellis County Family Law District Courts, with a few related tips and useful information you won’t find elsewhere:
DALLAS COUNTY (located in Dallas, Texas)
All family law courts are located in the George Allen, Sr. Courts Bldg., 600 Commerce Street, Dallas, Texas. This courts building is the 10 story White Granite building directly South of the Old Red Courthouse. This building is very old but had an expansion wing added a few years ago. Everyone calls the newer, expansion section the East Wing and the older section the West Wing. The best place for parking is the garage UNDERNEATH Old Red, with entrances off of east bound Commerce St. or west bound Elm St. The price is $10.00 or less. The garage allows covered access to the George Allen, Sr. Court bldg. (as well as the Records Building where Probate Courts and County offices are located).
There are seven specialized Family Law District Courts. In Dallas County, as in Tarrant County, each Family District Court has both a District Judge and an Associate Judge. There are also three Attorney General Court (IV-D) Courts. All these Judges hear only Family Law cases. The Family Court Services (i.e., Social Study) office is on 2nd floor of the East Wing. The Family District Clerk file desk is on the 1st floor. The Court Clerks for each court are on the same floor as their assigned court, on the South Side of the East Wing of the floor.
Each District Judge hears Final Trials, Motions to Enforce and some other matters and usually conducts Pre-Trial Conferences of some type so they can specially set the case for trial. Most of the Associate Judges’ dockets start at 9 or 9:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.; they preside over Temporary Hearings, discovery disputes and some Pre-Trial conferences. Each District Court has a Coordinator and its own Court Clerks. You cannot access the Judge and Coordinator’s offices behind the Courtrooms unless you have clearance from the Court Clerks.
The three IV-D courts are situated on the 3rd floor of the West Wing and these hearings are set at 8:30 a.m.
Three of the District Courts are on the 3rd Floor of the East Wing, the other three are on the 4th Floor.
All of the Associate Judge’s Courtrooms are located on the 4th floor of the West Wing except for the Associate Judge of the 256th which is located on the 3rd floor of that wing.
254th District Court: District Judge Darlene Ewing; Associate Judge Donald Turner.
255th District Court: District Judge Kim Moore; Associate Judge Scott Beauchamp.
256th District Court: District Judge David Lopez; Associate Judge Regina Moore.
301st District Court: District Judge Mary Brown; Associate Judge Andrew Ten Eyck.
302nd District Court: District Judge Tena Callahan; Associate Jean Lee.
303rd District Court: District Judge Denise Garcia; Associate Judge Grace Olveira.
330th District Court: Andrea Plumlee; Associate Judge Danielle Diaz.
COLLIN COUNTY (located in McKinney, Texas)
The stately, still relatively new and recently expanded Collin County Courthouse is at 2100 Bloomdale Rd., McKinney, Texas, at the NW corner of Bloomdale Rd. and US 75/N. Central Expressway.
Directions: Traveling north on Central Expwy. (US 75), pass Hwy 380, take the Bloomdale Rd. exit (Exit 42B). Turn left at the stop sign. The courthouse is located on the NW corner of US 75 & Bloomdale Rd. Traveling south on Central Expwy. (US 75) take the Weston Rd. exit (Exit 43). Stay on the service road approximately 2 miles to the stop sign. Turn right. The courthouse is located on the NW corner of US 75 & Bloomdale Rd.
Parking is free in front of the Courthouse on the south side of the building, but is not covered. Prepare for a walk and bring an umbrella in inclement weather.
Update 9-1-15: There are now eleven District Courts in Collin County. Note that all these Courts except the two newest ones, the 469th and 470th, are “General Jurisdiction” Courts, meaning the Judges hear mostly Criminal and Civil District Court matters. They will still be presiding over a few Family Law cases; however, the 469th and 470th are now designated as strictly Family Law Courts and will hear the majority of family law matters. This means you may appear for your case only to find that another type of case is ahead of it which the court hears first. It has long been a tradition that the Courts set all their cases for 9:00 a.m. This means you may be on the docket with a number of other cases and you may or may not get heard at 9 a.m.; instead, it usually will be later that morning or even that afternoon before your case is reached. Thankfully, some of the courts are starting to use afternoon settings, finally. Each Court has a Coordinator. The District Court Clerk’s Office is now centralized in the District Clerk’s Main Office on the first floor. Take a number!
Note that if you have had a case in one of these general courts in the past and are going back to court for a modification or enforcement, you should check to see whether your case is administratively transferred to one of the new 469th or 470th Family District Courts.
199th District Court – located on the 1st floor, Judge Angela Tucker
219th District Court – located on the 2nd floor, Judge Scott Becker
296th District Court – located on the 2nd floor. Judge John Roach, Jr.
366th District Court– located on the 3rd floor. Judge Ray Wheless
380th District Court – located on the 3rd floor, Judge Benjamin Smith
401st District Court – located on the 3rd floor, Judge Mark Rusch
416th District Court – located on the 2nd floor, Judge Andrea Plummer
417th District Court – located on the 3rd floor, Judge Cynthia Wheless
429th District Court – located on the 1st floor, Judge Jill Willis
NEW FAMILY LAW COURTS:
469th District Court — Judge Piper McCraw
470th District Court — Judge Emily Miskel
(Locations of these two courts will be added)
NOTE: *There is also a “spill over” Court called Auxiliary Court where the sitting Judges bring in various retired Judges to preside over uncontested cases, hear agreements and preside over some actual contested matters and trials as needed. Aux. Court No. 3 on the First Floor is where this occurs. If your case is settled or uncontested, most “prove ups” will be done there.
**Another notable about Collin County is that it is the home of the infamous “20 minute” Rule. Collin County STILL does not have Associate Judges to hear temporary matters. This means that for ALL temporary hearings, no matter how involved or complex or how many witnesses, the Court will generally only give each side 20 minutes to present their case and cross examine the other side. This makes Temporary Hearings extremely difficult. Make sure you prepare properly!
DENTON COUNTY (located in Denton, Texas)
The Denton County Courthouse is at 1450 E. McKinney Street, Denton, Texas 75209.
It, too, like Collin County, is a fairly new, very nice Courts building. There is uncovered parking on three sides of the Courthouse. Be aware, the parking is limited and on Mondays, when jurors are called in, the lot is often completely full and quite a walk may be in the works. Get there early (around 8:30 am) if possible!
There are now eight District Courts in Denton County. You should note that the 442nd District Court was created to hear most of the Family Law cases in Denton County. All the other Courts (except the newest one, the 442nd) are “General Jurisdiction” Courts, meaning the Judges hear not only Family Law but also Criminal and Civil District Court matters. This means you may appear for your case only to find that another type of case is ahead of it which the court hears first. Denton County fortunately staggers their cases our throughout the day instead of setting a hundred cases all at 9 am. Still, however, you may be on the docket with a number of other cases for your allotted time slot and you may or may not get heard on time. Each Court has a Coordinator. Clerks are centralized. As with all courts, you cannot access Judge’s or Coordinator’s offices unless you are buzzed through after identifying yourself and your business with the Court. Like Collin County, Denton County still does not yet have Associate Judges to preside over temporary or discovery matters, so there is a strict time limit on Temporary hearings, usually not more than one hour. Parking is open but fills quickly in the mornings, get there early if you don’t want to walk a half mile.
Note that if you have had a case in one of these general courts in the past and are going back to court for a modification or enforcement, you should check to see whether your case is administratively transferred to the new 442nd Dist. Court.
16th District Court- Located on the 3rd floor – Judge Sherry Shipman
158th District Court – Located on the 3rd floor – Judge Steve Burgess
211th District Court – Located on the 2nd floor – Judge Brody Shanklin
362nd District Court – Located on the 3rd floor – Judge Bruce McFarling
367th District Court – Located on the 3rd floor – Judge Margaret Barnes
393rd District Court – Located on the 4th floor – Judge Doug Robison
431st District Court – Located on the 2nd floor – Judge Jonathan Bailey
442nd District Court — Located on the 2nd floor in the former ceremonial courtroom — Judge Tiffany Haertling
Denton County courts are very formal, have their own “personality” and require strict adherence to rules of conduct and decorum. You MUST stand up to address the Court (which you should do always anyway, but Denton is more strict than others).
TARRANT COUNTY (located in Fort Worth, Texas)
The still comparatively new (and my favorite for pragmatic design) Tarrant County Family Law Center is located at 200 E. Weatherford St., Fort Worth, TX and opened for business on July 19, 2005. All the Family Law Courts and OAG Courts are located in the Family Law Center, above. The other types of Courts are in other buildings nearby. The Family Law Center also houses the Family Court Services (social study) office, the District Clerks for the family law courts, the Lawyer’s Lounge (where the lawyers hang out and negotiate their cases) and other related offices. A parking garage is across the street on the East side of this courthouse, but fills quickly, be there by 9 am to get a spot.
All temporary hearings, discovery motions, many pretrial conferences, some motions for enforcement are heard by the Associate Judges. All final trials are heard by the District Judges in most cases. Like Dallas, each Family District Court has an Associate Judge. Here are the various courts:
231st District Court – Located on the 5th floor -Judge Jesus Nevarez, Jr; Associate Judge Lindsay DeVos
233rd District Court – Located on the 5th floor – Judge William Harris; Associate Judge Diane Haddock
322nd District Court – Located on the 4th floor – Judge Nancy Berger; Associate Judge James Munford
324th District Court – Located on the 4th floor – Judge Jerome Hennigan; Associate Judge Beth Poulos
325th District Court – Located on the 5th floor – Judge Judith Wells; Asscociate Judge Terri White
360th District Court – Located on the 4th floor – Judge Patricia Bennett; Associate Judge Matthew Riek
A word to the wise—for some reason, Fort Worth has always had this (mostly) friendly rivalry with Dallas County. For many years, if a lawyer from Dallas appeared in Fort Worth, he or she was in for a nasty surprise! Most of the newer judges are not that way, but some vestige of this attitude still prevails there. So… if you are from “Dallas”–be humble, respectful and polite and don’t come across that you think you’re better than everyone else!
GRAYSON COUNTY (located in Sherman, Texas)
The three district courts listed below are all located at 200 S. Crockett Street, Sherman, Texas 75090. This is the new, 2 story Sub Courthouse in the southwest corner of the square, across the street from the Old Courthouse which is in the middle of the town square . Enter on the East side of the building. Elevators are available to the second floor. All three courts are located on 2. All three courts are general jurisdiction courts, like Collin, Denton and all counties except Dallas and Tarrant.
15th District Court – Judge James Fallon
59th District Court – Judge Rayburn “Rim” Nall
397th District Court – Judge Brian Gary
Each judge has a Coordinator behind the courtroom. Security or permitted access only.
The Courts offer staggered settings throughout the day to minimize wait time, which is appreciated.
ROCKWALL COUNTY (located in Rockwall, Texas)
The brand new, attractive Rockwall County Courthouse sits facing I-30 and is located at 1111 E. YellowJacket Lane, Rockwall, Texas 75087.
There are two District Courts in Rockwall County. These district courts are general jurisdiction courts that hear civil, criminal and family law matters. Judge Hall has been on the bench for many years. Judge Rakow’s court was created more recently. Each judge has a Coordinator.
382nd District Court – District Judge Brett Hall
439th District Court – District Judge David Rakow
KAUFMAN COUNTY (located in Kaufman, Texas)
The courthouse address is in the middle of the town square at 100 West Mulberry, Kaufman, Texas 75142. There are two District Courts. These district courts are general jurisdiction courts that hear civil, criminal and family law matters. Judge Casey Blair’s court is on the second floor and Judge Chitty’s court is located on the first floor. Each has a Coordinator. Entrance to the courthouse is strictly monitored.
86th District Court – District Casey Blair (second floor)
422nd District Court – District Judge B. Michael Chitty (first floor)