Where do I file my case?
Cases must be filed in the proper county and court and with the proper clerk's office. Each county is different. A lawyer can help you decide where to file your case.
There are many things that affect where you file your case.
- Which county?
- Cases are often filed in the county where one or both parties live or have their businesses, but not all cases are supposed to be filed where you live.
- The process of identifying which county you should file your case is called “determining proper venue.”
- If you need help deciding what county your case should be filed in, talk to a lawyer. You can find a lawyer using the resources described in the How to Find a Lawyer section of this website.
- Which court? In Texas there are different levels of courts where trials are held. They are called many different things: district courts, county courts, county courts at law, probate courts, and justice courts. Which court you file in depends on the type of case you are filing, and sometimes on the amount of money involved in the case. It also depends on the county because each county is different. If you need help deciding which court to file in, talk to a lawyer or use Texas Law Help's chat service.
- Which clerk’s office?
- Cases are filed in a clerk's office.
- Each county has 2 kinds of elected clerks - a district clerk and a county clerk. In some counties, the same person is both the district clerk and county clerk. Some justice of the peace courts have clerks, but some do not.
- In most counties, district clerks handle papers for cases decided by district courts, and county clerks handle papers for cases decided by the different kinds of county courts.
- Filing in justice of the peace courts. Counties are sometimes broken up into smaller areas called precincts, and justice of the peace courts serve a precinct. They have "precinct" numbers and, in some cases, “place” numbers.
- File in the appropriate clerk’s office. Take the Petition and at least 2 extra copies and ask the clerk to stamp the copies with the date and time.