Practice Tips: 367th District Court
PRACTICE TIPS FOR THE 367TH DISTRICT COURT
Communication with Court Administrator/Judge
Email is the preferred mode of communication and in some instances the required mode of communication with the court administrator. If you are requesting dates for a hearing or trial, cancelling a hearing or trial or announcing settlement, email is required. Please note that the court administrator is able to respond to an email faster than a phone message. Court Administrator’s email: email@example.com. A friendly reminder, do not attempt to communicate with Judge Hill unless directed to do so by Judge Hill or the court administrator at the direction of Judge Hill.
Do Not Use Parties’ Initials
Do not use parties’ initials in pleadings. Use each party’s full name in the style of the case and in the body of the pleadings. The Family Code requires that parties’ names be used.
Do Not Use Children’s Initials
Do not use children’s initials in pleadings. Use children’s full names in the style of the case and in the body of the pleadings. The Family Code requires that children’s names be used.
Settings are available at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Trials (full day) will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The 367th District Court offers the following dockets: full day, half day, over one hour, one hour or less.
To set a hearing in the 367th District Court, please email the court administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be provided with the Court’s available dates and must confer upon the dates with opposing counsel or the pro se litigant via email without the administrator copied in order to find a mutually agreeable date. Once both sides have agreed on a date for the hearing, please copy the coordinator back into the email and advise her of same. Once she confirms the setting, please e-file a Notice of Hearing with the date filled in.
Temporary Hearings are limited to 30 minutes per side, unless there are special circumstances which the Court should be informed of at the start of the hearing.
Full Day Trials/Jury Trials
A formal pre-trial conference is required. Pre-trial conferences are pre-assigned for each full day trial/jury trial.
Docket Call will be held on a Friday at 8:30 a.m., usually 10 days before Full Day Trials/Jury Trials. At Docket Call, Judge Hill will determine the order of cases.
Divorce Prove-Ups will be accepted by submission as long as all parties’ signatures are on the Decree and an Affidavit of Prove-Up is on file. Divorce Prove-Ups may also be held in person. A hearing date and time can be scheduled with the court administrator.
Conference on Dates
This Court requires conferencing on dates prior to setting in which a case is ongoing. For example, if you file a new suit or reopen an existing suit in which the other side has not been served nor filed an Answer, conference is not required. However, if you have an active modification case and file an enforcement, conference is required. Judge Hill requires allowing two business days for the other side to check their calendar and respond with availability. If there is no response, you may copy back in the court administrator, advise of attempts to confer, and request the setting. Email is the preferred, and if provided, required mode of conferencing on dates. A person is considered available if they do not have a vacation letter on file or are in deposition, mediation or another hearing. Failure to confer will result in your case not being heard.
Mediation is mandatory prior to final hearing. That being said, not mediating does not automatically continue a final hearing. If one side is forced to file and set a Motion for Mediation, attorney’s fees may be assessed against the other side. If you will be mediating at DCAP, the 367th District Court requires that the completed Exhibit A’s for each party be attached to the proposed order. If they are not, the proposed order will be rejected. Once mediation has been completed, please file a letter notifying the Court of the outcome (settled, partially settled, impasse). If settled, the Court administrator will place the case on the Court’s Entry Docket.
Court’s Entry Docket
Upon ruling by Judge Hill or settlement announcement to the court administrator, the case will be placed on the Court’s Entry Docket for entry of temporary or final orders. The Court’s Entry Docket is not a Dismissal Docket. It is designed to be a built-in Motion to Enter or Sign. If the corresponding order is not entered prior to that date, counsel must attend the hearing to discuss any issues with Judge Hill. Once the order is signed by Judge Hill, it may be removed the Court’s Entry Docket. Entry Dockets will be held approximately twice a month on Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
Witness List/Exhibit List for Non-Jury and Pre-Trial Hearings
If a Motion for Judge to Confer with Children is filed, it will be set contemporaneously with the companion hearing, i.e. a request for temporary orders or final hearing. DO NOT bring the children to Court for this hearing. The interview will be scheduled after the Court hears the evidence at trial. In scheduling the interview, the Court will consider the children’s school and extracurricular activities in order to cause the least amount of disruption to the children.
Photos of Children
In hearings relating to children, it can often be helpful to introduce exhibits containing photos of the children.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE PRACTICE TIPS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.