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Contact
County Court at Law #4
405 M.L.K. Street, Box 17
Georgetown, TX 78626
Phone: (512) 943-1681
Fax:  (512) 943-1685
Click here for directions


Judge John B. McMaster
County Court at Law Four Judge
Phone: (512) 943-1681
Fax:  (512) 943-1685

Sharrion Threadgill
Court Administrator
(512) 943-1681
[email protected]

Mandy W. Vega
Probate Auditor
(512) 943-1683
[email protected]

David Ruppart
Bailiff
(512) 943-1294
[email protected]

Tom McMinn
Court Reporter
[email protected]
(512) 943-1682

 
Scheduling Announcement

Uncontested Matters

Please email the Court Administrator at [email protected] for further instruction and guidance during this pandemic.


Self-Represented Litigant

Please email the Court Administrator at [email protected] further instruction and guidance during this pandemic.



 
Inquiries
 
Judge John B. McMaster, County Court at Law Four

JohnMcMaster

John B. McMaster was appointed County Court at Law #4 judge in September 2005 and took his oath of office on January 3, 2006.  County Court at Law #4 was approved during the 2005 legislative session and became effective in January 2006.

Before being appointed as judge, John McMaster had a private law practice focusing on family law in Georgetown.  He previously served as a member of the Georgetown Independent School District Board, serving as board secretary for part of his tenure.  He is a member of the Kiwanis in Georgetown, the Williamson County coalition against underage drinking, the Masonic Lodge and Celebration Church in Georgetown.

Judge McMaster graduated from Georgetown High School in 1975, received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in 1979 and graduated in 1982 from South Texas College of Law.  He lives in Georgetown with his wife and daughter.

 
Announcement to the Public and to the Bar

The Judges of Williamson County take the health and safety of the litigants, attorneys, witnesses and staff seriously.Williamson County is monitoring a variety of sources, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) for the latest updates and recommendations affecting our operations regarding COVID-19. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Williamson County, or surrounding counties.The risk in Texas continues to be ranked low as COVID-19 is not currently spreading in Texas.However, it is important to have a plan.

PREVENTION FIRST:One of the recommended preventative measures is to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Williamson County has a reputation for being forward leaning when facing any challenge, so we have instructed our custodial services to increase their cleaning standards. They already have begun using hospital grade cleaning products and increased cleaning in common areas including wiping down surfaces.

In addition, they will begin cleaning all desks and surfaces that have been cleared off on Friday evenings, so please make sure to clear off your desks or counters. We also will be purchasing hand sanitizer for public areas of county buildings.

Again, the best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu and novel coronavirus are by following these simple steps recommended by the WCCHD:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Get a flu shot. Flu shots are available at no cost through the county health insurance at local pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreen’s and HEB. In addition, the WCCHD will give flu shots to county employees at their clinics.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

DSHS, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Williamson County Emergency Management, Williamson County and Cities Health District and other state and local agencies continue their ongoing preparations so that all of state government is working together to limit the spread of the virus and protect Texans.

This situation is very fluid.Please continue to check the Williamson County and each individual court website for updates about the Williamson County Courts response to COVID-19.Because this is an evolving situation, court processes may change.Please consider the potential exposure to your clients/witnesses who are over the age of 60 or may have underlying medical conditions.Their appearance at the courthouse should be avoided if possible.

 
Spring Break Standard Possession Order

In an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), local school districts have or are considering school closures after the spring break. Consequently, the Williamson County Courts have been receiving inquiries requesting guidance for parents whose children are due back after spring break.

The Standard Possession Schedule contained in most divorce and SAPCR orders is based on the school calendar. This means the possession schedule should be read in conjunction with the school calendar: where the child goes to school; or for the school district in which the child resides, if the child is not yet in school. In entering these orders, it was unforeseen that spring break for area schools might be extended because of a pandemic illness, such as COVID-19.

In situations like the present one, for purposes of interpretation of the order, the original school calendar determines the possession schedule. School closures, which may have the net effect of extending the spring break, should not be used by the visiting parent to extend his or her possession period with the child. The child is due back to the other parent at the time spring break ends according to the original school calendar.

 
Family Courts Under the 2020 State of Disaster COVID-19 and Related Coronavirus

This General Order is issued in response to the Local State of Disaster that has been declared by the County Judge of Williamson County, as well as the declarations by the Governor of the State of Texas, and by the President of the United States, and in conformance with the First Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals. (Misc. Docket No. 20-9042 (Tex.) Misc. Docket No. 20-007 (Tex. Crim. App.), accessed at https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1446056/209042. pdf)

The Courts of Williamson County are open, "and every person...shall have remedy by due course of law." (Tx. Const. Art. I Sec. 13). The Court finds that the State of Disaster requires certain steps to be taken in order to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the public, parties and employees of the Court, and so it is therefore ORDERED that, effective March 17, 2020 and continuing until May 11, 2020, unless extended by further orders:

  1. Due to the limitations on mass gatherings limiting the Courts' ability to impanel juries, all jury trials in ALL FAMILY COURT matters scheduled through May 11, 202 are CONTINUED without prejudice to either party and, consistent with the directive of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Cort of Criminal Appeals, this Court finds that the ends of justice are served by this continuance.
  2. The Family Courts recommend that all non-essential hearings be rescheduled.
  3. where During this appropriate. period, the parties are strongly encouraged to continue to conference in order to resolve cases, where appropriate.
  4. In the best interest of the community and in the interest of public health please do not attempt to visit the Williamson County Courthouse in person for any family court matter without direct communication with the court. The court will have the capability to conduct hearings telephonically, and electronically. Check the webpages of the individual courts regarding information on virtual courtroom capabilities. Notwithstanding the limits placed on the Courts in the interest of public health, employees, including chambers staff, will be teleworking between this date and May 11, 2020 and are available by phone or email. Electronic filings shall continue to be made through the District Clerk's office.
  5. Designation of Essential Family Court Matters: Essential Family Court matters include any matters where there is immediate harm to liberty, life, limb, or property.
    1. Any Essential Civil Court matter shall be calendared with the Court Administrator for the court where it is assigned.
    2. B.    Essential Family Court matters are as follows:
      1. Family Violence Protective Orders
      2. Family Temporary Restraining Orders
      3. CPS Removals
      4. Judicial Bypass cases and appeals
    3. All requested hearings shall contact, via electronic mail, with the Court Administrator of the court where the case is assigned and provide the following information:
      1. Cause number and name of Parties
      2. Necessity of setting
      3. Need for an interpreter or other accommodation
    4.  Phones/contacting the courts: Contact the corresponding court's website for up-to-date contact information. Phones will be set up to forward to offsite locations if necessary.
    5. We understand that during this difficult emotional time there will be family tensions requiring Court action. Please do not hesitate to contact the courts regarding matters, financial or child related that are emergencies.
  6. Parties are encouraged to submit contested motions on a submission docket where available. Contested motions to be heard on submission are:
    1. Agreed matters
    2. Agreed Uncontested Divorces: Please complete the attached Statement of Evidence along with the Agree Final Decree of Divorce and submit either through e-file or directly to the court by email to the Court Administrator
    3. Matters agreed to be heard on submission by the parties with permission of the court.
  7. Please check with each court regarding the scheduling of uncontested matters. Each court has the availability to conduct hearings through a virtual courtroom. Please contact each court for their availability to conduct a virtual/electronic hearing. These platforms include CourtCall and Microsoft Teams.

The Court reminds counsel and the public that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the Family Courts of Williamson County function effectively and efficiently during this disaster period. As this situation continues to evolve, this order may be modified or extended. We take seriously our obligation to balance the interest of justice and the health and safety of our courthouse community and the community at large. All are requested to exercise patience in this unprecedented situation. Notwithstanding

This order shall be filed with the Williamson County District Clerk and shall be published on both the "All District Courts" webpage and the "All County Courts at Law" webpage.

IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 18th DAY OF MARCH 2020

Click here for signed version

 
Court Operations in Wiliamson County Family Courts Under the 2020 State of Disaster COVID-19 and Related Coronavirus

This General Order is issued in response to the Local State of Disaster that has been declared by the County Judge of Williamson County, as well as the declarations by the Governor of the State of Texas, and by the President of the United States, and in conformance with Emergency Orders Regarding the CO VID-19 Stale of Disaster issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals 1•

The Courts of Williamson County are open, "and every pcrson ... shall have remedy by due course of law." (Tx. Const. Art. I Sec. 13). The Courts now have the ability to handle all essential and an increasing number of non-essential matters. The intent of this order is to set forth instructions for the administration of justice in ALL MATTERS heard by the Family Courts of Williamson County, Texas.

The Court finds that the State of Disaster requires certain steps to be taken in order to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the public, parties, and employees of the Court, and so it is therefore ORDERED that, effective immediately and continuing until further order the following rules will be in place:

  1. JURY TRIALS: Due to the limitations on mass gatherings limiting the Courts' ability to impanel juries, all JURY TRIALS in ALL FAMILY COURT matters scheduled through June 30, 2020 are CONTINUED without prejudice to either party and, consistent with the directive of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, this Court finds that the ends of justice are served by this continuance.
  2. SETTLEMENT ENCOURAGED: During this period, the parties are strongly encouraged to continue to conference or attend mediation, in order to resolve cases, where appropriate.
  3. In the best interest of the community and in the interest of public health please do not attempt to visit the Williamson County Courthouse in person for any family court matter without prior, direct communication with the court.
  4. SUBMISSION. Motions to be heard on submission arc:
    1. Agreed matters
    2. Agreed Uncontested Divorces: Please complete the attached Statement of Evidence along with the Agree Final Decree of Divorce and submit through e-file.
    3. Matters agreed to be heard on submission by the parties with permission of the court.
  5. VIRTUAL COURTROOMS. Due to exigent circumstances the Court requires hearings to be scheduled via VIRTUAL COURTROOM TECHNOLOGIES. All Family Courts in Williamson County are utilizing Microsoft Teams to set its Virtual Courtroom Hearings. Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based team collaboration software that is part of the Office 365 Suit of applications. The core capabilities in Microsoft Teams include business messaging, calling, video meetings and file sharing. The following procedures are in place for obtaining a hearing date in the Family Courts of Williamson County, Texas. STEP ONE: Contact the Court Administrator to schedule a chambers conference with the judge. The Court Administrator will set the conference on Teams and the Court will initiate the Teams conference call. Ensure that your computer has: a) internet access; b) video camera; and c) microphone. If you can only participate by telephone, please notify the court at the time o[ scheduling the Teams Chamber Conference.
    1. For all requested CHAMBERS CONFERENCES, the pa11y requesting the conference shall contact, via electronic mail, the Court Administrator of the court where the case is assigned and provide the following information:
      1. Cause number and name of parties;
      2. The email address of the attorneys;
      3. Need for an interpreter or other accommodation
    2. The Court Administrator will set the CHAMBERS CONFERENCE by sending the attorneys an email calendar invitation through Microsoft Teams with a specific day and time for the hearing. On the day of the hearing, select "JOIN MICROSOFT TEAMS MEETING'' in your calendar on the Teams app.

STEP TWO: At the conclusion of the Teams Chamber Conference, the court will instruct the parties whether the court will: require mediation, set a Teams Virtual Courtroom hearing or further action.

STEP THREE: If the court orders the parties to schedule a Teams Virtual Courtroom hearing, the parties will contact the Court Administrator to schedule the Teams Virtual Courtroom hearing.

  1. All parties appearing must have internet access, video camera, microphone and the Microsoft Teams Application downloaded.
  2. For all requested VIRTUAL COURTROOM HEARINGS, the party requesting the hearing shall contact, via electronic mail, the Court Administrator of the court where the case is assigned and provide the following information:
    1. Cause number and name of the parties;
    2. The email address of the attorneys, parties and witnesses;
    3. Need for an interpreter or other accommodation
  3. The Court Administrator will set the VIRTUAL COURTROOM HEARING by sending the attorneys an email calendar invitation through Microsoft Teams with a specific day and time for the hearing. On the day of the hearing, select "JOIN MICROSOFT TEAMS MEETING" in your calendar on the Teams app. It is the responsibility of the attorneys to properly notify the witnesses and the parties of the hearing and the procedure for joining the hearing.
  4. There arc several methods the hearing can be conducted. Counsel may have their client and witnesses physically present in their office. Counsel may also call in from one location, the client can call in from another location, and a witness can call in from a different location. To have visual capabilities, in addition to audio, you must have a computer, smartphone, or tablet with a wcbcam. The CoUtt strongly recommends the parties and counsel appear using visual capabilities. lfthc parties fail to appear visually, the Court may determine it is more appropriate to reschedule the hearing for a date after the disaster declaration lifts.
  5. Witness testimony will be taken by the Official Court Reporter. Additionally, the Court may choose to conduct an audio-visual recording of the proceeding.
  6. EXHIBITS: Parties will be required to electronically provide the court reporter and opposing counsel/party their pre-marked exhibits no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing. The Official Court Reporter will keep and file copies of exhibits per normal procedure. Following the hearing, the Court will sign orders electronically.
  7. Please be patient as we refine the process of conducting virtual courtroom hearings.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the party scheduling thr.: Virtual Courtroom Hearing serve notice of the hearing pursuant to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the tenns of this General Order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the party scheduling the Virtual Courtroom Hearing include instructions sufficient for the opposing counsel and party to make an appearance at the hearing.

IT IS FURTI !ER ORDERED that the party scheduling the Virtual Courtroom Hearing provide the COURT ADMINISTRATORS with sufficient contact information for the attorneys and parties. so that the court administrator can calendar the hearing utilizing Microsoft Teams. This will require a valid email address for all parties and attorneys.

The Court reminds counsel and the public that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the Family Courts of Williamson County function effectively and efficiently during this disaster period. As this situation continues to evolve, this order may be modified or extended. We take seriously our obligation to balance the interest of justice and the health and safety of our courthouse community and the community at large. All are requested to exercise patience in this unprecedented situation.

This order shall be filed with the Williamson County District Clerk and shall be published on both the "All District Courts" wcbpage and the "All County Coutts at Law" webpage.

IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 30th DAY OF MARCH 2020

Click here for the signed version of this order

 
Court Operations in Williamson County Civil Non-Family County Courts at Law Under the 2020 State of Disaster COVID-19 and Related CoronaVirus

This General Order is issued in response to the Local State of Disaster that has been declared by the County Judge of Williamson County, as well as the declarations by the Governor of the State of Texas, and by the President of the United States, and in conformance with First Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals1•

The Courts of Williamson County are open, "and every person ... shall have remedy by due course of law." (Tx. Const. Art. I Sec. 13). The Court finds that the State of Disaster requires certain steps to be taken in order to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the public, parties, and employees of the Court, and so it is therefore ORDERED that, effective March 19, 2020 and continuing until May 11, 2020, unless extended by further orders:

  1. Due to the limitations on mass gatherings limiting the Courts' ability to impanel juries, all jury trials in County Courts at Law Civil matters scheduled through May 11, 2020 are CONTINUED without prejudice to either party and, consistent with the directive of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, this Court finds that the ends of justice are served by this continuance.
  2. During this period, the parties shall conference in order to resolve cases, where appropriate.
  3. Under no circumstances should a person appear in Court or at the courthouse who is experiencing symptoms of any illness. The Court will have the capability to conduct hearings in person, telephonically, and electronically. Notwithstanding the limits placed on the Courts in the interest of public health, employees, including chambers staff, will be teleworking between this date and May 11, 2020 and are available by phone or email. Electronic filings shall continue to be made through the County Clerk's office.
  4. Designation of Essential Civil Court Matters: Essential Civil Court matters include any matters where there is immediate harm to liberty, life, limb, or property.
    1. Any Essential Civil Court matter shall be calendared with the Court Administrator for the court where it is assigned.
    2. All requested hearings shall contact, via electronic mail, with the Court Administrator of the court where the case is assigned and provide the following information:
      • Cause number and name of Parties
      • Necessity of setting
      • Need for an interpreter or other accommodation
    3. hones/contacting the courts: Contact the corresponding court's website for up-to-date contact information. Phones will be set up to forward to off site locations if necessary.
  5. Parties are encouraged to submit contested motions on a submission docket where available. Contested motions to be heard on submission are:
    1. Summary Judgments
    2. Matters agreed to be heard on submission by the parties with permission of the court.
  6. Please check with each court regarding the scheduling of uncontested matters. Each court has the availability to conduct hearings through a virtual courtroom. Please contact each court for their availability to conduct a virtual/electronic hearing. These platforms include CourtCall and Microsoft Teams

The Court reminds counsel and the public that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the County Courts function effectively and efficiently during this disaster period. As this situation continues to evolve, this order may be modified or extended. We take seriously our obligation to balance the interest of justice and the health and safety of our courthouse community and the community at large. All are requested to exercise patience in this unprecedented situation. Notwithstanding

This order shall be filed with the Williamson County Clerk and shall be published on the "All County Courts" webpage.

IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 19th DAY OF MARCH 2020

Click here for a signed version of this order