Court Policies

Click here to download these policies in PDF form.

Weather/Emergency Closures or Delays

If any of Plano ISD, Frisco ISD, Allen ISD, or McKinney ISD has a delayed start or closes, the 470th District Court will follow the same schedule.

No Auxiliary Court

All 470th cases must be heard by the 470th District Court, and not by the auxiliary court.  No prove-ups or ex parte requests may be heard in the auxiliary court.

In-person prove-ups are not required–see below for more information on prove-ups by affidavit. If you wish to come to court for a prove-up, you must schedule it on a day the court is available.

If the judge is out when an emergency request for ex parte relief is presented, the court will either rule remotely based on the electronically-filed pleadings or the 470th court coordinator may refer you to a sitting district judge.

Proof of Notice

If you want to go forward on a motion/hearing without the other side present, you must tender proof of notice to the court either by filing your proof of notice or by offering it as an exhibit for the court reporter.

Safety / Extra Security

If you think your case might need extra security (whether for the parties or due to family members), please email the bailiff at 470@co.collin.tx.us before your hearing so that we can schedule sufficient court security in advance. If you have concerns, please help us be safe.

Settings

Settings are available at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Time Limits — A “full-day” trial is two and a half hours per side. A “half-day” trial is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes per side.  A 3-day jury trial is four hours per side.

Hearing — To set a hearing, please email the court coordinator at 470@co.collin.tx.us. You will be provided with the Court’s available dates and should work with the other side to get an agreed date. Please e-file a notice of hearing with the date filled in. The coordinator does not add the case to the Court’s calendar until a completed notice of hearing is submitted.

Trial — To set a trial, please email the court coordinator at 470@co.collin.tx.us. You will be provided with the Court’s available dates and should work with the other side to get an agreed date. Please e-file the Court’s form Scheduling Order with the trial date and mediation details filled in. If, after several attempts, you are unable to get an agreed date, please e-file a proposed scheduling order with a letter describing your efforts.

Trials without a scheduling order on file are limited to 1 HOUR per side.

Jury Trials — A formal pre-trial hearing is required, no later than the Wednesday before the jury trial begins.  A Jury Trial Discovery Control Plan and Scheduling Order must be completed and signed when the trial is set.  The scheduling order specifies the many tasks that must be completed at or before the pre-trial hearing, including expert challenges, proposed jury charges, pre-marked exhibits, witness lists, etc.

Mediation

Mediation is required before trial.  Scheduling orders without mediator name(s) will be rejected. If mediation has not been attempted, you are limited to 1 HOUR per side at trial.

Ex Parte Relief – TROs, etc.

Attorneys or paralegals may walk through requests for ex parte relief in person.

You are also welcome to submit your request for ex parte relief electronically without coming to the courthouse in person.  If you file a motion requesting ex parte relief and submit your proposed order through e-filing, please call or e-mail the court coordinator to let her know that you want action taken on the request.  If you do not call or email the coordinator to alert her that you want the request addressed, it will just remain in the e-filing queue without action.

Please do not request TROs that contain items that are in the standing orders.  The court will reject TROs that largely overlap the standing orders.  Please put the few items of genuine concern in the TRO so that the court can tell what relief you’re actually requesting.

Continuances

Any continuance (even if agreed) for a case that was filed more than 18 months ago requires a hearing and court approval.

Child Interviews

If Texas Family Code sec. 153.009 requires the Court to interview a child, the interview will be conducted on the day of trial, after the child is released from school. Please arrange for the child to be brought to the courthouse by an adult who is not a party to the case.  Contact the court coordinator at 470@co.collin.tx.us before your trial date to ensure the child interview is properly scheduled on the Court’s calendar.

Courtroom Cell Phone Policy

You are welcome to silently use phones, tablets, laptops, etc. in the courtroom. If device use becomes disruptive, you will not be allowed to continue to use the device. During jury trials, if your device makes any sound in the courtroom, you will be subject to an immediate $50 fine.

Courtroom Technology

If you plan to display a device (laptop, tablet, etc.) on the screens in the courtroom, you are encouraged to test and troubleshoot the equipment in advance.  Generally, the connections at the counsel table closest to the jury box seem to work more reliably. There are HDMI and VGA connections at counsel table:

   

Apple devices do not work well with the courtroom technology. For example, Apple devices may only display on the one large screen and not any of the smaller screens.

If you plan to play a video, please test the playback and sound in advance, whether you plan to use the courtroom DVD player or whether you plan to play the video on your own device.  The court is not responsible for playing your video for you.

Restrictions on Sealing Cases

Parties may not agree to seal cases. Sealing requires court approval after an evidentiary hearing.  Cases will not be sealed before final trial. If you are requesting to seal a case, please contact the court coordinator at 470@co.collin.tx.us to schedule the hearing, which will be held after the final judgment is signed.

Property Division

If you are asking the Court to divide property, you must provide a proposed property division which lists all assets and debts.  The court prefers an editable format, such as an Excel spreadsheet.  If you do not bring a proposed property division with you on the date of your trial, you will be required to fill out this one.

Spousal Support or Payment of Expenses

If you are asking the Court to order spousal support or divide expenses, you must provide a financial information statement listing income and expenses.  If you do not bring an FIS with you on the date of your hearing, you will be required to fill out this one.

Health Insurance and Cash Medical Support

In every case involving children, the parties must file a pleading or statement describing the children’s health insurance.  See Tex. Fam. Code § 154.181(b).

If the children are receiving health insurance through a government program such as CHIP or Medicaid, the obligor must pay cash medical support in the approximate amount of 9% of the obligor’s annual resources for all children.  See Tex. Fam. Code § 154.182(b-2). The court will not sign any order where the children are receiving government health insurance unless the obligor is ordered to make payments of cash medical support.

Sensitive Data and Children’s Initials

Under TRCP 21c, attorneys are prohibited from filing documents containing unredacted sensitive data. You must redact the sensitive data and use initials for each child’s name in all pleadings. Do not mark filings as containing sensitive data–it is not a substitute for redacting.

Tex. Fam. Code § 102.008(b)(2) requires a child’s name and date of birth to be included in a petition in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship or a divorce petition involving children. These are the only filings that should contain a child’s name or birth date.  Since the inclusion of unredacted sensitive data is required, these petitions are the only filings that should be marked “NOTICE: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS SENSITIVE DATA.”

To ensure a final order is enforceable by contempt, you may want to include the children’s names in the final order.

Photos of Children

In hearings relating to children, it can often be helpful to offer exhibits containing photos of the children.

Motions for New Trial

Motions for new trial will be decided on the pleadings and will only be set for hearing if argument is requested by the Court.

The court will set a hearing if:
(1) the motion shows that an evidentiary hearing is required pursuant to TRCP 324(b)(1) or other law;
(2) the verified motion and sworn affidavits are in proper form and timely filed;
(3) the motion alleges specific facts that, if true, would entitle the movant to a new trial, and
(4) a hearing is timely requested.

Prove-Ups and Affidavit Prove-Ups

Please schedule prove-ups by emailing the court coordinator at 470@co.collin.tx.us. All 470th cases must be heard by the 470th District Court, and not by the auxiliary court.

In divorces and suits affecting the parent-child relationship, the 470th district court permits prove-ups by affidavit when ALL of the following conditions are met:

  1.  There is an agreed decree or order signed by every party and attorney involved in the case;
  2. One party files a sworn, notarized affidavit containing the necessary prove-up testimony; and
  3. All signatures and notaries are distinctive written signatures, not “/s/ Typed Name.”

Withdrawals

The Collin County local rules may provide one way for attorneys to withdraw without the necessity of appearing. Review and follow local rule 4.3:

(c) A motion to withdraw may be granted without a hearing under the following circumstances:
(1) the motion is accompanied by a certificate by the client attesting to the client’s consent to the withdrawal or a certificate by another lawyer attesting that the lawyer has been retained to represent the client in the case; or
(2) the motion is accompanied by a letter that notifies the client of the client’s right to object to the withdrawal within ten days of the date that the letter was mailed; the withdrawing attorney certifies that the motion and letter were sent to the client’s last known address by certified and regular mail; and no objection is filed.

A helpful checklist for attorney withdrawals is available here.