In Texas civil courts, "venue" means the county or district court where a lawsuit should be filed. Here, learn the rules for determining the appropriate venue for a particular case. Links to forms are included. Read this article as part of I want to move (transfer) my case to another court.
This article only applies to civil (not family law) cases in a district court or county court at law. Do not use the forms linked to here for justice court cases.
What is a venue transfer?
When a judge transfers venue, your case is moved to a court in a different county. You can ask a judge to transfer venue by filing a Motion to Transfer Venue and Notice of Hearing.
Should I talk with a lawyer if I need to move my case to another court?
Yes. If possible, talk with a lawyer in the county where the case was filed. It’s possible to hire a lawyer just to give you legal advice, this is called limited-scope representation. You can use the Legal Help Directory tool to search for a lawyer, free legal aid program or self-help center in your area.
Note: Do not use the TexasLawHelp.org venue transfer forms and instead talk with a lawyer if:
- Your case involves multiple plaintiffs (petitioners) or defendants (respondents), and you are trying to move only the claims brought by or against you, and other claims remain, or
- Your case involves multiple plaintiffs (petitioners) or defendants (respondents), and the motion to transfer venue is not brought by agreement, or
Talk to a lawyer about filing a motion to sever and how to properly ask a court to move only part of the case.
Is there a deadline on when to file a Motion to Transfer Venue?
Yes. You must file the Motion to Transfer Venue before you file any other document in a case except for a “special appearance.” If you file anything other than a special appearance before filing a Motion to Transfer Venue, you will give up your right to have the case moved. It’s important to talk with a lawyer if you have questions.
Note: There are exceptions to this rule. You may file a Motion to Transfer Venue after the deadline if:
- All of the parties sign the Motion to Transfer Venue that they agree to the case being moved, or
- You file a Motion to Transfer Venue due to prejudice. However, the law says that you should file the Motion as soon as you become aware of the prejudice.
Will the judge transfer the case to another court?
It depends. First, it is important that you are the right party to file the Motion to Transfer Venue (depending on the reason for the request) and that you file it before the deadline (if applicable). Here are some scenarios.
- Venue is not proper in the current court and mandatory in another court. If you show venue is not proper in the current court and mandatory in another court, the judge should transfer the case. See Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code sections 15.011 to 15.020.
- Venue is not proper in the current court and proper in another court. If you show that venue is not proper in the current court and proper in another court under the general or permissive venue rules, the judge will likely transfer the case. See Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code sections 15.001 to 15.002;15.031 to 15.039.
- Venue is more convenient in another court. If you show venue is more convenient in another court, the judge may transfer your case for the convenience of the parties, the witnesses, and in the interest of justice. SeeTexas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 15.002(b).
- If you show you are likely to be prejudiced in the current court, and support the Motion with the required affidavits, the judge should transfer the case unless the credibility of the people that provide the affidavits is successfully challenged.
Remember: Either party may ask for the case to be moved to a different court because of prejudice. In this case, the general deadline rule does not apply, but the law says you should file the Motion as soon as you become aware of the prejudice. SeeTexas Rules of Civil Procedure 257 to 259.
What if the parties agree to transfer venue?
If the parties agree to transfer the case to another court of proper venue, the judge will likely transfer the case.
Remember: Either party may file the Motion at any time if it is by agreement, so long as the other side files its agreement to the transfer with the court in writing.
It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer in the county where the case was filed. The lawyer can tell you whether the judge will likely transfer your case.
Do justice courts have different venue transfer deadlines?
A different deadline applies if your case is in the justice court (and not in a district or county court at law). The defendant in a justice court may challenge venue up to 21 days after the answer is filed, if the plaintiff files a case in an improper venue. SeeTexas Rule of Civil Procedure 502.4(d).
Where can I read the law about asking to transfer venue?
This article discusses transferring venue in family law cases.
This article contains a link to a video that provides some background on the civil litigation system in Texas.
This article explains the basics of civil lawsuits in Texas.