In April 2021, the Yale Law team obtained mandamus relief in two separate cases involving the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Pursuant to the Texas Family Code, in cases filed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the court loses jurisdiction over the case unless the court has commenced trial on the first Monday after the first anniversary that the court rendered a temporary order appointing the Department (ie, CPS) as temporary managing conservator OR has granted an extension. A court can grant a single extension under certain circumstances, allowing the case to remain on the court’s docket an additional 180 days. Emergency Orders due to COVID-19 have allowed courts to grant more than one extension; however, courts must order a new dismissal date and trial date before the current dismissal date lapses.
In both cases, the courts failed to enter orders with new dismissal dates before the courts automatically lost jurisdiction over the cases per the provisions of the Texas Family Code. When the dismissal was brought to the courts’ attention, the dismissal was ignored and the courts continued to act on the cases. The Second Court of Appeals – Fort Worth concluded that the cases had been dismissed by operation of law and directed the courts to dismiss the cases.
You can read the full opinions at:
In re J.R., Relator
If you have questions about mandamus relief or your case with the Department of Family and Protective Services, contact Yale Law to see what can be done to protect your rights.