There isn't just one type of court — or only one court per county. The judicial system is split up to make things more efficient. Learn about the different types of courts and how to find the courts serving your area below.
Justice of the Peace Court
Justice of the Peace Courts oversee less serious criminal cases and minor civil matters. Civil matters include lawsuits over debts, evictions, unlawful towing, and property.
District Courts handle many types of cases — from divorce to severe criminal offenses. In sparsely populated areas of Texas, several counties may be served by a single district court. While an urban county may be served by many district courts, sometimes specializing in civil, criminal, family law, or juvenile cases.
Constitutional County Courts
All 254 Texas Counties have a Constitutional County Court. These courts handle more serious misdemeanors, probate matters, and small civil lawsuits.
Besides hearing legal cases, the County Judge oversees the county government. In more populated counties, there are County Courts at Law and Statutory Probate Courts to help with some of the County Judge's duties.
County Courts at Law
Texas has about 100 County Courts at Law — most serving highly populated counties. These courts are created by state law, so they can handle whatever the lawmakers decide they should based on local needs.
See a map of counties with County Courts at Law.
Statutory Probate Court
Probate is the process of transferring property and ownership after someone has died. These special courts hear probate matters only — like administering the deceased's estate and settling disagreements about wills. Probate Courts also oversee the guardianship of minors and incapacitated persons, and mental illness matters.
Probate Courts are rare. Only about a dozen exist and are only in Texas' most populated counties. So, probate matters might be heard in the County Court, County Court at Law, or District Court of a particular county.
Child Support Courts
These courts were made so child support cases are resolved quickly. Child Support Courts hear child support establishment, enforcement cases, and paternity cases.
See the list of Child Support Courts in Texas.
Child Protection Courts
The specialty Child Protection Courts in Texas were created to assist courts in rural areas in managing their child abuse and neglect hearings. The goal expedited stability for the child and a higher quality of placement decisions.