Yes, all of the courses offered by the Domestic Relations Office meet the requirements established by the Texas Family Code.
To qualify for our services, the Harris County Family Courts must have the authority to decide your case. You must have the correct address of the other parent.
The Judge has ordered the evaluation to obtain an assessment of you and your family from a professional who understands family dynamics, as well as the impact of family separation and litigation on children. The judge uses this information along with information obtained during the litigation process to determine what is in the best interest of your child(ren).
Family Mediation is a process in which a neutral professional assists in identifying issues and resolving disputes between parties. Issues of child custody, parenting time, and child support are frequently in dispute. The mediator helps the parties to communicate, assists the parties to identify their options (choices) and aids in the writing of the agreement.
If you have been found in contempt for violating an order, the court gave you a second chance by placing you on community supervision in lieu of incarceration. The Court hopes that you will take advantage of this second chance and get the assistance you need to comply with the court's order for child support or possession/parenting time.
When a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship is finalized in Court, a party must submit a Record of Support Order (Texas Family Code 105.008). Signing the section in the Record of Support Order requesting child support services will automatically enroll the parties in child support services. The DRO begins monitoring support and providing services immediately.
Local Rules of the Harris County Family Courts provide that family courts shall
require parents to complete an educational program, unless good cause has been
shown. Your attorney may have more
specific information, or you may contact the court in which your case is
pending to determine what is required.
All lawsuits have to comply with procedures set out by the Texas Family Code. Since each court has different docket schedules, it is not possible to give the date your lawsuit will be completed. If you are having a problem in one of the areas of family law handled by this Office, you should make an appointment now. More specific time frames can be given once we know the facts of your case, what type of legal action my be required, and what Court will be hearing your case.
Adoption Evaluations are completed within 60 days of payment. Child Custody Evaluations and Contested Adoption Evaluations are completed within 90 days assignment to the evaluator. Common factors that may delay completion beyond that time frame include:
- missing appointments
- unusually complex issues
- criminal proceedings or CPS involvement during the social study
- other issues which prevent either party from participating in a timely manner
The policy of the State of Texas, and requirements of our Harris County Family District Court local rules, require that pending contested matters be referred to mediation. The Domestic Relations Office, in cooperation with the Family District Courts, provides mediation services to assist families involved in litigation.
Your order will have the length of community supervision in the attached terms and conditions. If you pay off all child support arrears, the Court may approve early termination.
The "Record of Support Order" is available here, at the Harris County District Clerk's website or at the Office of the Attorney General's website.
No. When you complete your registration, you are asked to provide the name of the other parent, and care is taken by DRO staff to avoid registering both you and the other parent in the same workshop at the same time.
The Domestic Relations Office is a fee-for-service agency. Since there are many types of lawsuits, all fees for services are discussed with the applicant during the interview.
Once your case is referred to the Domestic Relations Office, which can be by either court order or a written agreement, you will complete the Mediation Request located on this website. The Intake Coordinator will review your case to determine if it is appropriate for mediation and contact you.
Mediation is offered Monday through Friday, and, if agreeable to all parties, may take place on the same day as your Court referral. Before mediation begins, an orientation is given that consists of:
- a detailed description of the process, and
- a presentation of nationally recognized video "For Our Children"
Mediation usually last four to six hours. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will put it in writing. Once the parties and their attorneys have reviewed and signed the agreement, it is filed with the Court.
You must report at a minimum each month to your officer. The officer will thoroughly review your case, assess your needs and refer you for life skills in the areas where you need assistance. You can expect swift court intervention if you fail to remain in compliance.
No, the DRO represents the State of Texas.
Interviews with the adult parties in the case can take up to 2 hours. Interviews with a child take less than a half an hour, depending on the child's age. Interviews with other adults in the home are fact dependent.
The workshops are most helpful if they are attended in order, but if you must miss a session, you may notify your instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a make-up session.
Complete the Application for Child Access and Possession Assistance on the Applications/Forms subtab. You will be contacted for more information.
All children living full-time or part-time in each household are a component of the family unit and are expected to participate. Each family unit will impact the children in question and it is important to see how each member contributes.
Qualified, trained professionals with basic and advanced family mediation training, resolve cases involving custody, child support and marital property division.
You will be assigned an officer who will encourage compliance and provide ongoing counseling. Ongoing assessment by the officer will ensure that appropriate life skill referrals are made to improve your life.
Those referrals include:
- education assistance;
- employment counseling;
- alcohol and substance abuse intervention;
- financial planning; and
- parenting classes.
It is your decision whether to hire an attorney or represent yourself. We do not represent you or the other party. We represent the State of Texas.
The Court will be notified directly by the Domestic Relations Office once you have completed a workshop. Additionally, you will receive a Certificate of Completion for your records. However, please be aware that all sessions of the workshop for which you are registered must be completed before you will receive credit for the course.
Stepparents will be included in the evaluation, as will live-in partners. They must complete the same Personal History Questionairre as the parties. All persons living in the home with the children will be interviewed.
If an attorney represents you, the attorney must be present for the mediation to start.
The officer will recommend a motion to revoke and it is highly likely the judge will sign a warrant for your arrest. Once apprehended by law enforcement authorities, a hearing will then be held to determine if your community supervision should be revoked; which would make you subject to incarceration.
Child support, medical support and dental support is generally ordered paid. Review the child support section(s) of your order for the amounts due. For questions, contact the DRO at (713) 274-7300.
Either party may contact the DRO and request child support services. You may also complete an Application for Child Support Services available on this website.
Only in conjunction with an enforcement action and when the parties agree to the modification.
Your successful completion of the workshop will be reported to the Court. It is up to the individual Court to determine what action, if any, will be taken with respect to the other parent.
Not all cases can reach resolution through mediation. Sometimes, the parties are not able to reach an agreement and must go before the Court for a hearing. Mediation is not a substitute for a hearing before a Judge. It is an option to settling a dispute.
Your order directs where child support must be paid. Most orders direct that child support is paid to the:
Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit
P. O. Box 659791
San Antonio, Texas 78265-9791
Do not bring your children to the Domestic Relations Office, unless specifically requested by a Family Court Services Evaluator.
Yes. The custodial parent has discretion to hire private counsel, who will notice the DRO of the pending litigation.
Evaluations do not begin until all fees are paid. You have the option of paying the other party's fees so the evaluation can begin and then seeking reimbursement at a later date. Consult with your attorney.
No - children may not be present at the mediation.
All parents who reside in Harris County may apply to the DRO for possession enforcement services. Possession enforcement services are detailed in a different page on this website.
Yes, Reporting is a condition of your community supervision. If you fail to report it is a violation of your community supervision.
Contact us at 713-274-7300 and we will guide you through the application process.
If both parties have paid, the evaluator will move forward with an evaluation based on the information received.
Only the parties and their attorneys are allowed to participate in the mediation session. Do not bring anyone else to the mediation session or they will be required to wait on another floor.
The written report is filed with the Court and provided to attorneys of record and to parties who have represented to the Court that they are acting as their own attorney.
Contact your assigned Officer to discuss how to pay attorney's fees.
Contact the Harris County District Clerk's Office at 713-755-5758.
Evaluations are assigned in the order in which they are received after all required information has been provided to Family Court Services. Typical reasons for delay of the study:
- The signed court order has not been received, and
- All of the assessed fees have not been paid.
Report the changes to your assigned officer immediately. You also need to report the changes to the Office of the Attorney General at 800-252-8014 and to the other parent.
Only the Court can modify the child, medical or dental support. Grounds for a modification include a material and substantial change in the circumstances of a child or a person affected by the order. Parties may request a review of the ordered child support amounts by contacting the Domestic Relations Office.
Notify your Family Court Services Evaluator as soon as possible. The Evaluation will be stopped and the Court notified.
Contact the Harris County District Clerk's Office at 713-755-5758.
In order to comply with the Texas Family code, Section 162.0085, adoption petitioners must obtain their own criminal history record information (CHRI) from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) and submit same to the Court for review. The process is on the TDPS website at https://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/CR-62.pdf. TDPS has entered into an exclusive contract with MorphoTrust USA for this service. Below are methods to obtain the information.
Contact Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) at 1-888-467-2080 to setup an appointment to be fingerprinted. Callers must inform the technician that they are being fingerprinted for “Domestic or International Adoption.” A technician will assist with the completion of forms and fingerprint card for a CHRI search.
The individual or authorized representative must download forms and fingerprint cards from the DPS website https://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/CR-62.pdf. These forms and cards must be completed pursuant to TDPS and FAST fingerprint instructions. Applicants must register the information with www.indentogo.com and mail completed forms to Morpho Trust USA.
Should you have any questions, please contact TDPS at (512) 424-5079.
No. You will not be seen if you bring your children.
The DRO requires 48-hours notice of any cancellation regardless of the reason. Failure to provide 48-hours written notice will result in a $100.00 cancellation fee which must be paid before the case can be rescheduled.