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.

New Tex. Fam. Code § 262.013 establishes a new filing requirement for petitions relating to more than one child. DFPS must now file suit in the same court a petition based on allegations arising from the same incident or occurrence and involving children living in the same home.

If a 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

Effective September 1, 2017, Tex. Fam. Code § 155.201 requires that upon receiving notice that a court exercising emergency jurisdiction under Chapter 262 has ordered the transfer of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship under Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(a)(2), a court of continuing jurisdiction (CCJ) must transfer the proceedings to the court exercising jurisdiction under Chapter 262. The court exercising emergency jurisdiction under Chapter 262 may also transfer the suit affecting the parent-child relationship to the CCJ for the convenience of the parties and if transfer is in the child’s best interest. However, a court hearing the case under Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 262 must transfer any suit affecting the parent child relationship to the court in which the suit for dissolution of marriage is pending once the Chapter 262 court has rendered a temporary order. Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 263, Subchapter E. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(a)(3); Tex, Fam. Code Chapter 6, Subchapter E. Tex. Fam. Code § 6.407(a), (b) and (c); Tex, Fam. Code Chapter 103, Tex. Fam. Code § 103.002; Tex, Fam. Code Chapter 155, Subchapter C. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.201(a).

DFPS is required to file a transfer order issued under Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203(a)(2) with the clerk of the CCJ so that the clerk of the CCJ can, within the time required by Tex. Fam. Code § 155.207(a), transfer the case to the court exercising jurisdiction under Chapter 262. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.204. 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 affecting the parent-child relationship 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).