B. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Transfer

1. Jurisdiction

A suit brought by DFPS requesting an order under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 262 may be filed in a court with jurisdiction to hear the suit in the county in which the child is found. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.002.

If the court of this state has acquired continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, no other court of this state has jurisdiction of a suit with regard to that child except as provided by Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 155 or Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 262. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.001(c).

2. Venue

Venue lies in the county where the child resides, and generally speaking that county is where the child’s parent lives, unless:

•   Another court has continuing exclusive jurisdiction under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 155; or

•   Venue is fixed in a suit for dissolution of marriage under Tex. Fam. Code Subchapter D, Chapter 6. Tex. Fam. Code § 103.001(a).

3. Transfer

The court hearing the case under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 262 is not required to transfer the suit to a court in which a parent has filed suit for divorce before a final order for the protection of the child has been rendered under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 263, Subchapter E. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(c). The court hearing the CPS case may, however, as a matter of discretion, transfer the suit to the court hearing a divorce suit or to another court in which a suit affecting the parent child relationship is pending, even if there is not yet a final order in either court. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(a).

Pursuant to Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203, an order of transfer must include:

•   The date of any future hearings in the case that have been scheduled by the transferring court;

•   Any date scheduled by the transferring court for the dismissal of the suit under Tex. Fam. Code § 263.401; and

•   The name and contact information of each attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem appointed in the suit. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(d).

The court to which a suit is transferred may retain an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem appointed by the transferring court. If the court finds that the appointment of a new attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem is appropriate, the court shall appoint that attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem before the earlier of:

•   The 10th day after the date of receiving the order of transfer; or

•   The date of the first scheduled hearing after the transfer. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(e).

Tex. Fam. Code § 155.207(a) and Tex. Fam. Code § 155.207(c) address the transfer of court files from one jurisdiction to another. Not later than the 10th working day after the date an order of transfer is signed, the clerk of the court transferring a proceeding shall send to the proper court in the county to which transfer is being made:

•   The pleadings in the pending proceeding and any other document specifically requested by a party;

•   Certified copies of all entries in the minutes;

•   A certified copy of each final order; and

•   A certified copy of the order of transfer signed by the transferring court. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.207(a).

On receipt of the pleadings, documents, and orders from the transferring court, the clerk of the transferee court shall docket the suit and shall notify the judge of the transferee court, all parties, the clerk of the transferring court, and, if appropriate, the transferring court’s local registry that the suit has been docketed. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.207(c).