Judge Patricia Baca Bennett is the judge of the 360th Family District Court. She hears family law matters including divorces, child custody, and adoptions. Before she took the bench, it took over a year to obtain a setting for final trial in the 360th District Court. Today, cases are set about six months from the date a trial is requested.
Patricia has been married for 19 years and is the mother of two children, including one special needs child, which has instilled in her a deep understanding and level of empathy for protecting the children and also respecting the rights of the parents.
Patricia is a highly qualified judge who is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Family Law. This certification shows substantial, relevant experience in the field of Family Law, as well as demonstrated and tested competence in areas such as divorce, child custody, child support, and adoption. Out of all licensed attorneys in the State of Texas, only about 10% are Board Certified. To be considered for certification, she had to show substantial experience in the area of Family Law. She also had to be recommended by peers, followed by testing to prove expertise in the area of Family Law. Once certification is achieved, the attorney must maintain a continued involvement in new developments in the law through additional continuing legal education. Patricia is a member of the Texas Association of Family Law Specialists
Judge Bennett is a proud graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law, where she was granted the Board of Regents Scholarship. Prior to law school, Patricia received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Patricia and her husband Ric live in Mansfield and attend St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Judge Patricia Baca Bennett firmly believes that a judge’s role is to apply the law, not make the law. A judge cannot substitute her personal beliefs for the law. Like the Constitution of the United States, the Texas Constitution sets forth a scheme of divided government with specific powers to be exercised by each branch of government.
The Texas Constitution specifically limits the powers of each branch of government and Texas Statutes limit the powers of each court. The founders of our country and our state understood the necessity of separation of powers as a check on the excesses of government and as a means for protecting our liberties and freedoms. Family courts in Texas are courts of law and equity. However, equitable principles can only be used if there is no adequate remedy at law and are limited by both statute and case law. A judge who sees a modern-day family court as simply a “court of equity” fails to recognize the limits Texas law places upon a judge.
Patricia is a Constitutional Conservative who respects the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Texas. She understand the role a judge plays in our governmental scheme and is committed to following the laws of this great state. The people coming into the family courts deserve the certainty that the judge hearing their case is applying the laws as passed by the Texas Legislature.