For Better, Worse, Or Divorce Podcast

In the next episode of our “Texas Counties Series,” Jake Gilbreath meets with one of the firm’s associate attorneys, Stefani Preston-Kryder, to discuss practicing family law in the different counties that make up the surrounding Austin area (Travis, Williamson, Hays, and Bastrop). Jake and Stefani discuss the local rules, key court locations, structure of the family court system, the filing requirements and deadlines within each county, and the importance of hiring an attorney with experience in your specific county.

Walters Gilbreath, PLLC, handles family law matters throughout Texas. Schedule a consultation if you have a family law matter you want to discuss with an attorney. If there is a topic you would like to hear on our podcast, email us.

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Your hosts have earned a reputation as fierce and effective advocates inside and outside of the courtroom. Both partners are experienced trial attorneys who have been board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Jake Gilbreath: Thanks for tuning into For Better, Worse, or Divorce podcast where we provide you tips and insight on how to navigate divorce and child custody situations in the state of Texas. I’m Jake Gilbreath, and today I’m joined by one of our associate attorneys in the Austin office, Stefani Preston-Kryder. She’s going to join me as part of our series on Texas counties, where we discuss different counties and local rules throughout the state. For this episode, we’ll be talking about the Austin area and the surrounding counties. Hopefully some of you all will find that helpful for anyone going through or know somebody that’s going through a family law matter in this part of the state.

Thanks for joining, Stefani. This is out of your usual day-to-day work with the firm, and so I appreciate you doing it. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, how long you’ve been with the firm, and anything you want to tell us about yourself. 

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Sure. I’m happy to be here. I graduated from Baylor Law School in 2018. While I was there, I knew I wanted to work in family law, so I focused on family law. I won the family law advocacy award there, and joined Walters Gilbreath in May 2019. I’ve been practicing exclusively family law since that time in central Texas. Since I’ve joined the firm, I’ve written for and spoken at some CLEs, including handling your first divorce relating to inventories, creating property division spreadsheets, dealing with unique property issues, and prepping those for settlement and trial. I was just recently listed as a super lawyer rising star for the year 2023. I’m happy and excited to talk about some unique issues to the Austin area because there’s a lot of variety in how each of the counties operate. It’s an interesting, exciting topic for me.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah, absolutely. Stefani actually just joined me last week speaking at the advanced family law class at Baylor Law. We talked about child custody cases and jury trials, one of our favorite topics. I have to brag about when we hired Stefani. There’s a hiring process in the law firm where we sit down and we interview people. After we interview them, we usually have them come back for a second round of interviews and then we think about it. We try to be very intentional about who we hire at the firm and associates. Stefani came and met with me and Sarah, the CEO, and we had the interview for the first time. Stefani left the office and we made the decision to call her before she even got to her car and say, “Come work for us,” which was one of the smarter things that we’ve done at this law firm. I’ll brag about her a little bit.

Stefani Preston-Kryder: My acceptance was one of the smartest things I’ve done in my career. So there you go.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah, there you go. Isn’t this nice? Every single county is different. Let’s first say that when we say central Texas or Austin surrounding counties, let’s kind of focus on Travis, Williamson, Hayes, and Bastrop County. I would probably define central Texas a little bit broader than that. For example, Bell County, Burnett County, and down south to Caldwell County and Guadalupe County. You all know we have an office in San Antonio, so also Bexar County. For the purposes of today, let’s kind of focus on those four counties because we spend a lot of time based out of our Austin office in those counties.

The first thing to know when you’re practicing in any court in the state of Texas, but particularly these courts as well, is what the local rules are. Stefani, first can you talk to us about what are local rules for a court? When we say local rules, when we preach about local rules and when we train our associates on that, what does that mean? Or we talk to clients about it or even when we talk about it in the podcast. 

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Sure. So I think people are obviously familiar with things like the Texas Family Code that governs all of Texas family law. We all look at that regardless of what county you’re in. Texas rules the civil procedure and evidence, it doesn’t matter what county you’re in. When you’re in a specific county, each of those counties have the ability to regulate the way that that county runs. The way their docket runs, the way you need to be filing, pleadings, and what you need to be sending in.

They have the ability to control that to a large degree. It’s really, really important to get on the district clerk’s website immediately and find what those local rules are, especially if you’re practicing in a new county. There are going to be local rules and you should find out what they are, and also find out what the unique little traps are. We will talk about those in more detail as they relate to those counties that you spoke about. They’re some of the pitfalls and gotchas that you can miss if you’re not careful up front in looking at what this country specifically expects from you in practicing and bringing a case in their county.

Jake Gilbreath: The pit falls, and it really can be something that’s severe as your trial may not go forward. If there are pretries that are required to be filed by a particular county or a particular deadline and you don’t file them, frankly really bad things can happen in court. The least of which is that a judge can say you haven’t filed pretrials, you all get out of here and reset your case. That’s actually probably one of the least bad things that can happen if you haven’t filed pretrials. We’ll go into more detail in a second, but a lot of the local rules will say if you don’t file your pretrial documents per the local rules, per the deadlines, you don’t get to present evidence. You don’t get to ask for the relief if it’s not contained in your pretrials. Maybe you have a massive separate property claim and you just didn’t file your pretrial on time asking for it. 

You could have a judge say you’re not allowed to present that, even if you have everything else squared away. Stefani and I have a case that went up on appeal. One of the many issues was that the appellee, the person who complained about the court’s judgment that had filed the appeal after the opposite side of the case that Stefani and I had – one of the many issues was trying to undo a mistake that they had done as far as confusing a reimbursement claim and a separate property claim. The third court held them to their pretrials on it. They tried at trial to say, well maybe it’s a separate property claim because that was the actual correct way to present it, but their pretrials and their pleadings had said it’s a reimbursement claim.

The court denied the claim and that got upheld and one of the many reasons it got upheld was saying pretrials. You said reimbursement and your pretrials were separate. That was a six-figure claim. Going back to why the local rules were discussed in the third court of appeals opinion. Stefani, let’s now talk about pretrials a little bit because each county does have required pretrials. We don’t have to go through in detail of every single county and rattle off the rules. But what in general are pretrials for a final trial that are typically required in this area of the state?

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Pretrials essentially are a way of you saying ahead of time to the court and opposing counsel, here’s notice of every claim. I’m trying to bring in proof and the evidence that I’m going to be working with to prove those claims. In Texas, it’s very important that we don’t do this surprise gotcha trials. That’s why a lot of the rules are in place, so we don’t go in and say, “Judge, I didn’t even know this request was at issue.” So we list it out and we have to be really thorough and really careful. Just like Jake was saying with the mistake there with confusing a separate property claim versus the reimbursement, you have to be really careful with claiming exactly what you’re asking for. Sometimes maybe even what we call pleading in the alternative saying, “Okay, well judge if you don’t accept my request on this, then here’s my alternative request.”

It requires putting everybody on notice and putting the court on notice that we know what we’re asking for and we’re not coming in blind. Then there are other pretrial documents that you have to provide. For example, in Travis County, you have to provide a proposed support decision, which is a fancy word for a budget. That is essentially just to assure the court that you’ve done your work of proving what your client and their children’s minimum reasonable needs are.

That way we’re not going in talking about child support and just kind of pulling numbers out of a hat. In Williamson County, you have to file a certification that you attempted to mediate, because that is a requirement under the local rules in that county that you can’t go to a final trial. Like Jake was saying, if you don’t have that on file or you haven’t done your mediation like you’re supposed to, you can get bumped and pushed way out. That causes delay for your client, delay incurring extra costs, and just the fact that they can’t finalize their case like they thought they had prepped up emotionally to do. That’s a broad overview of what pretrials entail and what their purpose is.

Jake Gilbreath: Probably my experience is every court in Texas has some form of the urban areas. The courts around the urban areas tend to have specific rules about pretrials. Like Stefani was saying, we’re not just rolling in trying cases by surprise and the judge doesn’t know what we’re asking for. The other side doesn’t know what we’re asking for. That’s not how it is done in most counties, particularly the more urban areas or the counties surrounding the urban areas. Stefani mentioned it could be awful if you don’t do this and you may get reset, or a judge could move you. You could just have the claim denied. Let’s talk about logistics too, because this is something that people don’t realize. A lot of litigation getting the courthouse is a logistical exercise. Obviously a lot of litigation is showing up, having good cross-examination, direct examination, opening statements, being able to present evidence and everything.

That’s obviously a big part of litigation, and it’s no different than a military operation. There’s a lot of logistics behind it that can screw it up. If you think about a military operation, obviously there’s the actual operation of the battle, to make a kind of stark analogy. There’s the actual operation of the battle, but there’s the logistics of how do we get everybody there. How do we make sure our soldiers are fed? How do we make sure that everybody’s where they’re supposed to be? Litigation is frankly no different. There’s a lot of logistics that goes around in the background. Your whole case could fall apart just on the logistical problem.

Not the least of which is making sure that your case is properly set and before the judge. Everything’s happened to where it’s on the judge’s calendar and he or she is going to hear your case. Or the court administrator if you’re in a county with a central docket. The court administrator has what he or she needs to be able to assign you to a judge.

Stefani, talk to us about your role as an associate and also the litigation assessment’s role. The litigation assessment’s role is knowing the local rules and knowing how to get cases set to where you don’t have that awful experience, where you’ve geared up for final trial or a hearing or something. You roll up at the courthouse and you find out that your lawyer didn’t know how to actually set the case and there’s no judge for you today. So how do you all handle that? First of all, how do you learn that and then how do you handle that in a day to day?

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Well, fortunately at Walters Gilbreath we have a huge brain trust. Part of learning it is just making sure you’re running things by each other. You’re constantly in communication and not shirking the benefit of having really experienced people around you, whether that be Jake or many of our other partners. We preach, preach, preach preparation. We have this whole setup where if we’ve got a trial set we meet 2 weeks out, 30 days out, and 60 days out to be sure that we are on track to be meeting all of these requirements so that we’re not caught unaware. Instead of saying a week out, oh no, we’re not on the docket, we’re looking 90 days out and saying are we on the docket? Are we adequately set? Are we announced for the correct amount of time? That’s the first thing, being on top of the deadlines and being forward-thinking about what’s going on. 

We have lots of internal forms for each different county and how those are specific. We work together to make sure that we’re all kind of checking up on each other to ensure that we’re meeting all those requirements. For example, with settings, in Travis County, it’s a central docket, which I’m sure we’ll talk about in a little bit more detail in a moment. You kind of can just go on and get it set, but you have to make sure that you get the actual confirmation that it has been received and accepted. The setting could get rejected and you’d be completely unaware. You have to be following up with all of these things. In other counties, you have to call and get the setting and you can’t just set it for whatever day you want. You have to get the court’s availability, and you have to show that you’ve worked with the opposing counselor or opposing party to get the agreement on that.

There’s specificity to each county and it’s dependent on whether it’s a central docket or not. It’s dependent on whether you’re assigned to a specific judge, how big their dockets are, and if you’re in a more urban versus rural area. All of those things play into effect in the preparation. Then on the other end you have to make sure how am I getting my evidence in front of the court? Does this judge require that I exchange my exhibits a certain amount of time before trial? Does this judge or the local rules require that I provide a witness list and if I don’t provide a witness list, I might miss out on a key witness that’s going to prove a key part of my case?

Is the court going to allow me to have a witness appear remotely because they’re in another setting, in another location? Have I done what I need to do to prepare the court to allow the witness to appear remotely? There are so many logistical issues. Do I have to have paper exhibits or does the court allow them to be electronic? I’m just rambling off kind of the big things.

Jake Gilbreath: Right, top of your head stuff that we have to deal with.

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Fortunately for me, one of my favorite things is just kind of checking things off a checklist and being in control. That’s why we start way, way, way out, because we know that if you get caught unaware that I haven’t filed the things I need to get my witnesses, exhibits, and all of that in, then there’s a point of no return where you’re just SOL, and you can’t fix that problem anymore, and you’re going in trying unprepared.

Jake Gilbreath: Talk about setting a bad tone for a trial. Even if a judge is going to show some grace if you haven’t filed something directly on time, you didn’t know how she likes exhibits, or you didn’t know its exact forms. Maybe she says, “Well this is how we do it, but I’m going to give you leave to do it.” That happens because our judges ultimately do want to get the information and see the administration of justice then look out for the best interest of children. They may show grace, but that’s a bad way to start a trial though; having to beg for grace on something because you didn’t know your local rules. From the client’s perspective it’s nerve wracking. You start off hearing or a trial with your lawyer not knowing how something works in a particular county. 

We can obviously litigate cases in counties or in front of judges that are new, but there’s an advantage to knowing how something works. And what better way to show a client that you don’t know the way it works than to flub something like dealing with a setting or the local rules. Or even like you were saying, regarding exhibits. Some judges want them in virtual electronics and some want them in hard copies. Some judges want kind of a mixture between the two and you need to know those things. Stefani,  you had also mentioned central docket. For those of you all who listen to the podcast know from other episodes there’s two central dockets in the state of Texas. One is in Travis County, Texas and the other is in Bexar County, Texas. They have central dockets. So what does that mean, Stefani? A central docket as opposed to a county like Williamson County or Bastrop County where I’m assigned to a particular court?

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Sure. So when you file your case, you’ll have a heading that says you’re in the 98th judicial district of Travis County, Texas. In Travis County, that’s more of an administrative assignment. It doesn’t have any bearing on what judge you will be before. What it means in Travis County to have a central docket is that they take all of the district judges and they put them on what’s called a rotation. They rotate in and out of family law and general civil litigation. So at any time, depending on just when you’re being heard, there will be certain judges that are available for family cases and certain judges that are not. If you’ve had a temporary orders hearing in front of a judge and you happen to have been in front of a district judge, there is no guarantee and it’s very unlikely that you’d go to that same judge for a final trial. Unless there are certain issues in your case that the judge has decided to retain your case in front of them.   

The other thing that I would say is that Travis County is very reliant on the use of our associate judges in family law practice in terms of interim orders. Things like motions to compel, discovery and temporary orders. Even things pre that final trial, that final thing that’ll get you that SAPCR order or that’ll get you that divorce decree. With that, often unless you waive the ability to go in front of a district judge, if you’re in front of an associate judge for all those interim things, you’re definitely not going to be in front of the associate judge at a final trial. What that all means for your case and what that means for me and Jake when we’re talking about your case and thinking about how to prepare. We have to know that we don’t necessarily have the privilege of coming into a hearing and the judge remembers you. And they remember the issues that came up at the last hearing and are able to jump right in and pick up where they left off.

We’ve got to be making the presentation a little more thoroughly and clearly every time we’re in front of the court or at least be prepared to do so. That’s obviously distinct from if you go to Williamson County, for example. You’ll file, you’ll be told you’re in the 425th district court, and that means you will be in that court every time you have a hearing. You will be in front of that same judge every time you have a hearing. When you go in, she’ll say, “Okay, I remember this case from the last time and we talked about this, and I ordered this and that for these reasons.” There are pluses and minuses to this either way.

Jake Gilbreath: Let me interrupt you on that because I want to talk about the time of how much I can have for a hearing. I think it kind of ties into this discussion about the central docket. What’s your experience tying into that? Let’s do these four specific counties, Travis, Williamson, Hayes, and Bastrop. Let’s talk about the final trial and then let’s talk about intemporary orders as well if you want. How much time can I get for a hearing in front of a judge? Also, how is this sort of docket system that you’re talking about going to affect that?

Stefani Preston-Kryder: As a general framing, the more urban the county, the more you can have in front of a judge because of the way that the system is. Because there are more resources there are more judges and there’s an expectation of a larger docket. For example, in Travis County, the balancing act is that I could set a hearing right now for two weeks from now, but I have to look at how many settings are on that because everybody can set the hearing for two weeks from now. I’m not the only person who can do that. I don’t have to ask permission from the court, I don’t have to ask the court’s availability. I can just get on the docket and I can say I want two weeks. Now, is that realistically going to happen? Probably not because then you have to be talking to the court administrator if there even is a judge that’s available for two weeks. 

Does my case warrant the two weeks? Technically I can announce and say I want two weeks, I need two weeks and I have two weeks worth of evidence to go through. It’s still a balancing act in terms of practicalities of are you going to get reached? Does the court have the time to do that? How many people are in front of you? We’re always doing the kind of strategic analysis of making sure we have enough time to present all the evidence we need. But also not taking up too much of the court’s time that we are getting bumped back and not being able to be reached. In contrast, if you were to reach out to Williamson County it’s pretty much a middle ground. Which feels right because it feels like it’s less urban than Travis County, but not quite as rural as Hayes County. 

For that you’d say, “Okay, well I need a full day.” Then they say, “Well, we only have certain full day weeks, so your options are limited and here are the limited options you have.” They’re probably going to be much further out than a day you could get in Travis County. But you have more of a likelihood and more of a surety that you’re going to get reached because the court is saying, “Well, I’ve made specific time for you on my docket.” You haven’t just entered into this crapshoot and picked a date and hope that you get reached. I’m telling you that there’s space for you here. Then in Hayes County you’ll probably get told, “You have three hours, figure out how to get everything in three hours. If you want more than a day, good luck.”

Maybe you could prove it to me, but you’re going to be months and months and months out. You’re going to have to really convince the judge that you’ve earned it, that it’s worth it. It is the same with Bastrop County. Bastrop County and Hayes County will operate pretty similarly in that regard. It’s an interesting kind of fun for us because we geek out about this stuff. It’s fun to think about the balance of getting a little bit more time in Travis County, but it’s a little less sure. We have to kind of think about all those contingencies.

Jake Gilbreath: They all have their ups and downs. I think I’ve preached in other podcasts that you can get a hearing quicker in the central docket. Most times quicker than you can in a different county that doesn’t have a central docket. But like you said, you could roll up in Travis County and say, “Well, I’m on the docket.” And it turns out everybody else set their hearing that same day. You’re just waiting around and they may not have a judge available. That’s an awful experience and there’s no way of knowing that until you get down to the courthouse. As opposed to having corresponded with a specific court’s coordinator and saying you are set before this judge on this day, and we know that it’s going to go. Of course, even then, judges are at the end of the day, a lot of them are sort of triaging.

They’ve got lots of things to deal with, lots of cases. Every single case is important. My experience with our judges is they take every single case very seriously. They try their best to give it the time that it deserves while triaging though. It’s like I just can’t spend two weeks on one case. Some of them can’t spend a day on one case when there’s certainly a day’s worth of evidence. They’re just dealing with the logistics of how we do that. In Williamson County for example, you may see a final trial that goes three hours one day. Then you’re coming back in two weeks to do another couple of hours. And then you’re coming back in a month and doing a few more hours.

I’ve had cases that get tried over the span of six months because that’s just logistically what the judge has to do to give you the time that the case needs. While opposed to Travis County where you’re there with that judge until the case is complete and there’s not going to be gaps, except for the rarest of circumstances. 

You’re with her from start and day to day to day until you’re done, again with the rarest of exceptions. Obviously there will be breaks if the judge has a conflict or she has something that she needs to do in the afternoon. You may have a break in the afternoon, but if you start trial on Monday you’re going to be there every single day until your case is complete. I think a lot of that’s because they have the central docket. The other cases can be backed up by other judges on the docket as opposed to Williamson County. If you’re Judge John McMaster in county court four, you are the Judge for all cases filed in county court four in Williamson County, Texas. You have to deal with that, so you can’t necessarily put your head down and have four-day trials back to back to back. Like you were saying, Stefani, it’s nice to know and geek out on it like you said.

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Right. Another thing that you had just brought up when we were at the law school speaking is that in Travis County we’ve got specific criminal courtrooms. When you’re in more rural counties, they’re seeing family cases and criminal cases. If you’ve got a big criminal case in front of you, they have a constitutional right to a speedy trial. So that’s another thing to think about. That can throw a kink in front of your ability to get before the court, is that really in Travis County, it’s a moral level playing field. We’re all family law cases in front of the people that are on rotation for the family law docket. But in other places that you might be fighting with criminal cases and being reset repeatedly just because those cases are going to take priority with good cause. That’s another thing to think about.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah. I started thinking about a major question I get from people, I got this question in a consult just yesterday. Virtual versus in-person. During the height of the pandemic everything was virtual then. Each court opened up differently on their schedules. But as we sit here right now in 2024, what is it currently? Again focusing on those four counties, what is the status of virtual versus in-person hearings and the availability for those?  

Stefani Preston-Kryder: Sure, and of course this all is framed in the favorite attorney caveat of it depends. A lot of times crazy things happen. For example, right now we’re dealing in Travis County with a pipe having burst in the courthouse. Now we’re turning every in-person hearing either into a virtual hearing by agreement or it’s getting reset. So all of this is a bit of a moving target. But in general, Travis County has the presumption that your case will be in person unless you agree with opposing counsel or opposing party in writing and submit that to the court the week prior that you will do a virtual hearing. It’s becoming more and more rare. It used to be, frankly, the flip of that as we were transitioning out of the kind of more pandemic heavy time. It was more that we presumed it was virtual and then you’d have to request an in-person hearing, and now we’ve kind of flipped to the opposite side.

That’s again another reason why we prepare, prepare, prepare. You’ve got to send in your announcement as to whether you want to do virtual or in-person the Wednesday prior to your hearing. You don’t want to be on Wednesday at 11 A.M. saying, “Oh, I didn’t talk to opposing counsel. I want this to be virtual because my client’s in Virginia,” or whatever. You have to think about those things ahead of time. In Williamson County, it is pretty judge specific. It depends on what judge you’re in front of. Some of the judges will have virtual days and in-person days, so you can request specifically for a virtual day or an in-person day. The thing about that is that still you’re going to have to be in agreement with opposing counsel and how that works. They’re not going to just set you if you’ve got opposing counsel objecting to a virtual setting or an in-person setting or whatever.

Probably what’ll happen is they’ll have you come in and talk in chambers and say, “Okay, you guys are on the virtual or the in-person setting,” but they’ll be a little bit more hands-on because it’s judge specific. Judge Arnold can say, “I’m choosing that you guys are going to do virtual because this client’s in a different state.” Then there are some judges in Williamson County that really are just going to do in-person unless there’s a very, very, very strong reason why. In which case, you’d have to file a motion. You’d have to request for the court’s permission to have a virtual hearing or have a virtual appearance of a witness or a party. Another thing that I didn’t mention in Travis County is that even if you’re in-person, the courts are pretty open to having virtual witnesses. They know that experts are busy.

If you’ve got a therapist, they don’t really want to be disrupting their entire practice to have them come sit at the courthouse. But again, you’ve got to be filing your motion to request for that virtual appearance and be aware that you need to ask for that. The court is not going to be happy if you show up and you say, “Oh, by the way, judge, can you circulate a Zoom link in the next five minutes to have my expert witness, that’s my key witness that I need to prove essentially all my claims testify?” It’s one, not a good look. And two, it’s frustrating to the court because they’re juggling 18 balls at once. Then in Hayes County it’s even less likely you’re going to get a virtual hearing. I imagine you could go in front of Judge Hayes, for example and you could express to him the need for it. 

I’ve been in front of him on certain small matters where he said, “Hey, I don’t really want to make you drive all the way down from Austin to do this.” But in general you’d be assuming that you’re going in-person there. It’s the same with Bastrop County. Again, you can see the trends of the more urban places. They have more resources and more staff. They also have more ability to have one judge be taking all virtual hearings that day and one judge be taking all in-person hearings that day and be a little bit more flexible with that. The smaller counties with less staff and less support needs to be a little bit more rigid. They need to be a little bit more predictable. 

Jake Gilbreath: All this comes down to a sense of theme through this podcast episode and other episodes, it’s important to have a lawyer who has the experience with this. We get consulted and hired all the time to be local counsel for people. Maybe for whatever reason, somebody has a family friend or they hire a lawyer from a different part of the state that’s representing them. Or maybe that client’s out, maybe they’re from Lubbock and they have their family friend that they want as their Lubbock lawyer. As for the cases in Travis County, we get hired a lot as local counsel to help people sort of go through these rules and make sure that they know the judges and know how logistically it works. That happens quite a bit. But from the client’s perspective, I would think it’s just always important to have somebody that’s got that experience.

That goes back to the consult and when you’re talking to whatever lawyer you’re thinking about hiring. All this other stuff we’ve talked about, you have to talk to them about communication and what their experience is. How do they see your case and it has to be a good fit. You should always make sure that you feel comfortable with the lawyer. Part of that conversation should be, “Hey, what’s your experience in this county, this judge”, for a county that you’re filed and you know who the judge is. So it’s not a central docket. Say for example, you’ve filed in the 425th in Williamson County, Texas. You should ask “What’s your experience with Judge Betsy Lambeth”, who’s the judge there right now? That should be part of the conversation in the consultation and having either one. Hiring a lawyer who has the experience or that lawyer doesn’t have the experience, but you think that’s the lawyer that you want to hire. Then making sure that lawyer has somebody as local counsel to kind of help them through this.

That’s something you’ll see us preach routinely throughout this podcast series of just there’s so much that goes into the administration of a case, and particularly when it comes to litigation. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that can have a negative impact on the case if it’s not handled appropriately. So to steal Stefani’s phrase, that’s why we geek out on it. That’s why we like it. That’s why we train on it. That’s why we have procedures in place, just to make sure that we’re checking those boxes and making sure that we have a smooth transition to the courthouse. A smooth presentation by the time we get in front of a judge or a jury. So we’ll wrap up with that for today. 

This was the third episode on our local county series. In the next episode our team is going to be discussing the counties in the Houston area, so stay tuned for that. As always, if you like what you’ve heard today, do us a favor and please leave a review. We appreciate all the feedback, especially when it helps us better the podcast. If you have any follow up questions to this episode or anything else we’ve talked about on the podcast, or if you want to talk to one of us directly about your family law situation, you can reach out to us at You can contact us directly through our website. And again, thank you Stefani for being here, and thank you all for listening.

For information about the topics covered in today’s episode and more, you can visit our website at Thanks for tuning into today’s episode of For Better, Worse, or Divorce, where we post new episodes every first and third Wednesday. Do you have a topic you want discussed or a question for our hosts? Email us at Thanks for listening. Until next time.