Austin Residents in Houston Divorce Courts: County vs. State Law

By: glendac101 | Posted: 07th April 2011

A Houston law firm is well aware of the fact that the divorce laws in the United States are specific to each state and in some cases, to counties as well. As a result, Houston residents are subject to both the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as the local processes of the Harris County family law court system. There are 254 counties in the state of Texas and each one is entitled to stipulate their own processes including standing orders. A standing order is a ruling of the court that exists for all cases that are filed, thereby eliminating the need for a separate adjudication of an issue. Given the fact that standing orders and processes may vary from county to county, spouses are encouraged to hire a family law attorney with experience in the county court system in which they reside.

Residency is the primary factor for consideration in the county vs. state conundrum. The first consideration is the residency requirement for the state of Texas itself. One of the spouses must present proof of continual state residency for a period of 6 months. This is the basis for the case to be filed in a Texas District Court. The 2nd proof of residency involves the county of the District Court in which the case is eligible to be filed. One of the spouses must be a resident of a county for a minimum of 90 days prior to the filing. In other words, an Austin resident must file within the Travis County court system. However, if each spouse can show proof of residency in different counties, a petition will need to be filed for the court to stipulate a venue for the pleading.

Harris County attorneys are members of the Texas Bar Association which enables them to practice law throughout the state. However, given their location, they most likely are very familiar with the processes and standing orders in the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers, Liberty and Montgomery. This does not preclude them from handling cases filed in any of the other Texas counties. However, having a full understanding of how a particular county court functions can save the client both time and money in the overall length of the proceedings.

A divorce in Texas is adjudicated according to the county in which it is filed. However, Texas state law presides in certain matters such as in grounds and child custody. Statewide law allows for the grounds for divorce to fall under two categories, either fault or no fault. Grounds for fault must satisfy certain criteria such as adultery, mental or physical cruelty or abandonment and be substantiated before the court. When child custody is a consideration, the overriding state law centers on what is in the best interest of the child.

Entering into a divorce in the state of Texas can be a minefield of county vs. state law rulings and regulations. Whether choosing to litigate or mediate the divorce, there is no substitute for working with a knowledgeable and experienced Houston family law firm.

The Waldrop Law Firm is a full service family law and commercial litigation firm with extensive experience in Harris County Family Courts. The Houston Attorneys at The Waldrop Law Firm seek to give the maximum amount of control to parties without adding more conflict to an already adversarial process of litigation. Waldrop has been named Top Texas Attorney by Houston based H Texas magazine. For additional information or to arrange for a free consultation contact
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Tags: conundrum, venue, petition, state of texas, divorce laws, family law attorney