While my office is located in the Galleria area of Houston (in Harris County), throughout my practice I have also handled divorce cases in Fort Bend County as well. Currently, my caseload is approximately 75% Harris County and 25% Fort Bend County. Here is a little bit of information about the Fort Bend County family law courts.
Fort Bend County has only two divorce courts (technically they are known as “family courts”), the 328th District Court and the 387th District Court. Both courts are located in the old courthouse at 401 Jackson Street in Richmond, Texas. The presiding judge for the 328th District Court is Judge Ronald Pope and the presiding judge for the 387th District Court is Judge Robert Kern. I have had many cases in both courts and find both judges to be fair, conscientious and dedicated to following the law in their rulings.
Judge Kern has been a Fort Bend County family law judge since 1999. Judge Pope has been on the bench in Fort Bend since 2003. The Associate Judge for the 328th District Court is Brenda Mullinix. The Associate Judge for the 387th District Court is Walter Armatys.
The handling of a divorce case in Fort Bend County is very similar to that of Harris County, although there are some significant procedural differences in practice. For example, in every Harris County family law court after a divorce case is filed the court will issue a Scheduling Order which will set that case for trial, with the trial date usually being six to nine months after the case was filed. In Fort Bend County there is no such automatic scheduling and in order to have a trial the lawyer for one of the parties (after meeting certain pre-trial requirements) has to request a trial date and have it set on the courts docket. So if neither party’s lawyer pushes the case towards trial it can remain pending for quite some time. This sometimes catches lawyers who aren’t familiar with Fort Bend procedures off guard, wondering when they will be set for trial.
Ultimately though, the same Family Code and Rules of Procedure and Rules of Evidence apply, so in practice a Fort Bend County divorce case is not all that different from a Harris County divorce case.