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474th District Court

The 474th District Court is a court of general jurisdiction which means that it can hear felony criminal cases, family law cases, and other civil cases such as personal injury cases, contract disputes, and property disputes.

About the Court

McLennan County leaders proactively recognized that, as the County continues to grow, more courts would be needed to handle a growing court docket. They collaborated with Senator Brian Birdwell and Representatives Doc Anderson and Kyle Kacal to pursue legislation. Senator Birdwell sponsored Senate Bill 1285 during the 87th Legislature for the creation of the 474th District Court. Representatives Anderson and Kacal sponsored House Bill 2101 which was identical to SB 1285. But rather than adopting either bill, the 87th Legislature enacted House Bill 3774 which created many new district courts and incorporated the language from SB 1285 and HB 2101. HB 3774 created the 474th District Court of McLennan County, effective October 1, 2022.

In addition to its role as a court of general jurisdiction, under local administrative rules, the district judges of McLennan County have designated the 474th Court as the Juvenile Court for McLennan County and have assigned the 474th a civil and family law docket.

Because the 474th Court is brand new, the district clerk began assigning cases to the Court on January 2, 2023. However, the Court has also accepted over 400 transfer cases from other district courts in the County to help manage a backlog of civil and family law cases. After almost six months, the 474th District Court has 431 pending civil and family law cases and 57 pending juvenile cases.

Agenda & Jurisdiction

The 474th District Court is a court of general jurisdiction. The Court primarily hears civil and family law matters. The Court is also the designated juvenile court for McLennan County. The Court is also the referring court for all Child Protective Service cases which means the decisions of the associate judge in those cases are subject to de novo review hearings in this Court.

Jury Trials

Potential jurors usually report at 8 a.m. on Monday mornings. After listening to instructions given by the District Clerk, they will be assigned to the various courts requiring a jury. Jury trials for civil and family law cases in the 474th District Court usually begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. For more information, please view the District Clerk’s Juror Information page.

Court Etiquette

Most hearings are open to the public. Appropriate dress is expected in the courtroom. No shorts, tank tops, hats/caps for men, or bare feet are allowed. Children under 7 and unattended children are not allowed in the courtroom.

Standing Order

The District Judges of McLennan County have entered a Standing Order Regarding Children, Property and Conduct of the Parties (PDF). This order applies to all divorce petitions and suits affecting parent-child relationships, (except AG initiated cases and CPS cases), filed after May 5, 2008.

Documents & Resources


Requests regarding settings for civil and family law cases should be directed to Ellen Watson by phone or e-mail.

Transcriptions of Trials & Hearings

Inquiries regarding transcripts should be directed to Alexandra Gillman by phone or e-mail.