On May 26, 2021, the Supreme Court of Texas issued its 38th Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster. The order continues to authorize the modification of some deadlines and procedures, as well as remote participation in proceedings by parties, while reflecting the changing circumstances of COVID-19.
Under the 38th Emergency Order, after August 1, 2021 deadlines and procedures other than dismissal dates—such as those regarding the Adversary Hearing—must not be modified unless permitted by statute. The options for extending dismissal dates in all proceedings under Subtitle E, Title 5 of the Family Code depends on the case history, including cases affected by prior emergency orders. The options are outlined below:
- For cases with a dismissal date previously extended pursuant to a COVID-19 Emergency Order, the dismissal date may be extended to a stated period ending no later than December 1, 2021.
- For cases with a dismissal date previously extended only pursuant to 263.401(b) or (b-1), the dismissal date may be extended to a stated period ending no later than February 1, 2022.
- For cases filed that have not yet had any extensions prior to May 26, 2021, the dismissal date may be extended to a stated period ending no later than April 1, 2022.
- For cases filed on or after May 26, 2021 the dismissal date may only be extended through Section 263.401(b) or (b-1).
The 38th Emergency Order went into effect immediately upon issuance and expires on August 1, 2021.