Getting Divorced In Harris County? Good Luck

Texas Lawyer magazine has a good look at the docket problems in Harris County's Family Law Center, where nine courts have about 34,500 cases pending on their dockets.

One lawyer notes that in his 25 years of practice, the county's population has doubled but the number of courts hearing family-law matters has remained the same.

Harris County has a somewhat unusual system for hearing divorce and other such stuff -- in many Texas counties, those cases go on the dockets of the regular district courts. But here they have to be funneled to the Family Law Center, and for most litigants that means a long, long wait.

"Typically, a Harris County family court judge has about 4,000 cases pending on his or her docket, while a civil district judge has about 1,500 to 2,000, several judges say," the magazine reports.

There are plenty of ideas on how to solve the problem -- increase the number of courts, "de-specialize" the courts so civil judges can more easily hear family-law cases, having some civil judges step up and relieve their colleagues' burden.

All have their problems, many of which come down to if you're a civil-court judge you don't want to mess with divorces.

One solution might be to allow civil-court judges to hear the so-called "docket-buster" cases involving removing a child from the home.

Anyway, the thing is worth a read. And you'll have plenty of time to do it, if you're waiting to get a divorce in Harris County.

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