The Collin County “Standing Order on Children, Property & Conduct of Parties” was recently amended. This may lead to the question: what is a standing order anyway?

A standing order is an order issued by a court on its own motion, without any party to the suit requesting it, which applies in all cases filed in that court. In this instance, the standing order applies to all divorce suits, and suits affecting the parent-child relationship filed in Collin County, for the protection of the parties and preservation of property as the suit goes forward

The order must be attached to the first pleading in the suit and goes into effect immediately as a temporary restraining order as to all parties to the suit. If no party contests the order at a hearing within 14 days of the initial filing, the order will continue as a temporary injunction until the conclusion of the case.

Collin County is not the only county with a family law standing order. Other counties in North Texas (Dallas, Denton, and Rockwall, for example) and other counties throughout the state have issued them.

Here is a link to the new order in its entirety: Collin County Family Law Standing Order. Of note, is section 4 which requires each parent to produce certain information in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

The information must be produced within 30 days of the parent’s appearance in the suit and before any temporary hearing, and include:

• Information sufficient to identify the parent’s net resources and ability to pay child support • Copies of income tax returns for the past two years, and current pay stubs • Information regarding each child’s health insurance coverage • Information regarding each child’s dental insurance coverage

The mandatory exchange provisions of the new Collin County standing order put the parties on notice as to what information the court needs in order to determine child support while the case is pending, including medical and dental support, as required by the Texas Family Code. As the term “mandatory” indicates, this is not merely a request or suggestion, but an order of the court-enforceable like any other order, including the penalties of contempt of court, for failure to comply.