Sec. 263.401: Dismissal After One Year; New Trials; Extension

(a) Unless the court has commenced the trial on the merits or granted an extension under Subsection (b) or (b-1), on the first Monday after the first anniversary of the date the court rendered a temporary order appointing the department as temporary managing conservator, the court's jurisdiction over the suit affecting the parent-child relationship filed by the department that requests termination of the parent-child relationship or requests that the department be named conservator of the child is terminated and the suit is automatically dismissed without a court order. Not later than the 60th day before the day the suit is automatically dismissed, the court shall notify all parties to the suit of the automatic dismissal date.

(b) Unless the court has commenced the trial on the merits, the court may not retain the suit on the court's docket after the time described by Subsection (a) unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child remaining in the temporary managing conservatorship of the department and that continuing the appointment of the department as temporary managing conservator is in the best interest of the child. If the court makes those findings, the court may retain the suit on the court's docket for a period not to exceed 180 days after the time described by Subsection (a). If the court retains the suit on the court's docket, the court shall render an order in which the court:

(1) schedules the new date on which the suit will be automatically dismissed if the trial on the merits has not commenced, which date must be not later than the 180th day after the time described by Subsection (a);

(2) makes further temporary orders for the safety and welfare of the child as necessary to avoid further delay in resolving the suit; and

(3) sets the trial on the merits on a date not later than the date specified under Subdivision (1).

(b-1) If, after commencement of the initial trial on the merits within the time required by Subsection (a) or (b), the court grants a motion for a new trial or mistrial, or the case is remanded to the court by an appellate court following an appeal of the court's final order, the court shall retain the suit on the court's docket and render an order in which the court:

(1) schedules a new date on which the suit will be automatically dismissed if the new trial has not commenced, which must be a date not later than the 180th day after the date on which:

(A) the motion for a new trial or mistrial is granted; or

(B) the appellate court remanded the case;

(2) makes further temporary orders for the safety and welfare of the child as necessary to avoid further delay in resolving the suit; and

(3) sets the new trial on the merits for a date not later than the date specified under Subdivision (1).

(c) If the court grants an extension under Subsection (b) or (b-1) but does not commence the trial on the merits before the dismissal date, the court's jurisdiction over the suit is terminated and the suit is automatically dismissed without a court order. The court may not grant an additional extension that extends the suit beyond the required date for dismissal under Subsection (b) or (b-1), as applicable.

Comments

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 12, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 90, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 866 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 5, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 944 (S.B. 206), Sec. 38, eff. September 1, 2015.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 317 (H.B. 7), Sec. 27, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 319 (S.B. 11), Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2017.