Skip to Main Content

Court Information

Civil District Courts have original jurisdiction in divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil matters in which the amount of money or damages involved is $200 or more and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed in another trial court.

County Courts at Law at Law generally have appellate jurisdiction (usually by trial de novo) over cases tried originally in the justice and municipal courts. Original and appellate judgments of the county courts may be appealed to the courts of appeals.

Criminal District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. District courts have original jurisdiction in felony criminal cases and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed in another trial court.

County Criminal Courts have original jurisdiction over all criminal cases involving Class A and Class B misdemeanors, which are the more serious minor offenses. These courts usually have appellate jurisdiction in cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts, except in counties where county courts at law have been established.

District courts have original jurisdiction in divorce cases and other family related cases.

The specialty child protection courts in Texas were created to assist trial courts in the rural areas in managing their child abuse and neglect dockets. Like the child support court associate judges, these associate judges are appointed by the presiding judges and are OCA employees. At the discretion of the presiding judge, visiting judges are sometimes appointed to hear these cases instead of associate judges.

The judges assigned to these dockets hear child abuse and neglect cases exclusively. Therefore, children can achieve permanency more quickly and the quality of placement decisions should be higher.

Title IV-D Courts hears all Title IV-D child support cases within Tarrant County. Title IV-D cases are those cases in which the Texas Attorney General (OAG) or Tarrant County Domestic Relations Office (DRO) has provided services under Part D, Title IV, of the Federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §651 et seq., including services relating to the location of an absent parent, determination of parentage, and/or establishment, modification, or enforcement of a child support or medical support obligation.  

The child support courts were created in response to the federal requirement that states create expedited administrative or judicial processes to resolve child support cases. The child support court associate judges are appointed by the presiding judges of the administrative judicial regions.

The child support courts hear and dispose of Title IV-D child support establishment and enforcement cases and paternity cases within the expedited time frames established by Chapter 201.110 of the Texas Family Code.

The Title IV-D program is funded with federal and state funds.  

The Justice Court is commonly known as the “People’s Court”.

There are eight Justice Courts in Tarrant County. The Justice Court is a trial court for both civil cases (jurisdictional limit is $20,000), and many different types of misdemeanor criminal cases. Your Justice Court Judge also serves as an Administrative Hearing Judge. Each Judge is elected to a four-year term by the voters in that precinct.

Probate is a court proceeding by which a will is proved valid or invalid. The term is used to mean all proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates such as the process by which assets are gathered; applied to pay debts, taxes and expenses of administration; and distributed to those designated as beneficiaries in the will.

The probate courts of Tarrant County are statutory probate courts presided over by judges elected on a countywide basis.

In general, the probate court probates the wills of deceased persons; establishes guardianships for incapacitated persons and minors; supervises the administration of the estates of deceased persons and incapacitated persons and minors; hears matters involving inter vivos, testamentary and charitable trusts;  and hears all cases involving civil mental health commitments.

The probate court also has jurisdiction to hear lawsuits appertaining to or incident to an estate of a decedent or ward and actions by or against a personal representative of an estate of a decedent or ward.  It is common for the court to hear any type of civil litigation, including personal injury, property damage, breach of fiduciary duty and family law.  The probate courts are charged with the responsibility of independently maintaining contact with every person under a guardianship each year.  This is done through court visitor programs developed and maintained by each court.

This page was last modified on June 09, 2023