ANGLETON — Brazoria County has a new district judge. Now he just needs the court to be created.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Patrick Bulanek, a Danbury resident with offices in Pearland and Alvin, will be the first judge to oversee the new 461st District Court when it is created Sept. 1. The new court is replacing District 23, which Brazoria County shared with Wharton and Matagorda counties.

Bulanek has experience in family law work and said being judge puts him in a good position to make rulings in the best interests of children.

“My goal is ultimately to give everybody a fair shake that comes before the court and help the backlog of family law cases in Brazoria County,” Bulanek said.

Brazoria County officials pushed local legislators to create a family law-focused court and sever its historic relationship with the 23rd District because of growth causing a significant backlog of family law cases, such as divorces and custody cases.

Abbott signed Senate Bill 891, which does just that, into law June 10.

“We are at about 370,000-380,000 people now, and when we get people that move in from all over, they also bring their family issues,” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said. “When people are having family issues, the faster you can move those, the faster the people can get their life back on track.”

With only Brazoria County cases to handle, the 461st District Court will free up some space and address the logjam, he said.

“It will be able to work full-time, within the confines of Brazoria County, addressing the needs of our citizens,” Sebesta said. “I think that will be good for our residents.”

Sebesta said he supports Abbott’s decision to appoint Bulanek the new judge.

The 37-year-old Bulanek and his wife, Kristin, have two children, a son and a daughter. He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Danbury, a board member and treasurer of the Women’s Center of Brazoria County and a board member of the Cradle of Texas Emmaus Community.

Bulanek received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston–Clear Lake and a Juris Doctor degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

The Facts recognized him as a Leader Under 40 in 2017. In a questionnaire he filled out after receiving that honor, he said he pursued the law as a way to help others.

“I always knew I wanted to be in a profession that would allow me to help people,” he wrote. “Becoming an attorney would allow me to have several unique opportunities to assist people facing difficult situations.”

Bulanek will serve as judge until Dec. 31, 2020, or until his successor shall be duly elected and qualified, according to a new release from Abbott’s office announcing the appointment.

Cara Daeschner is a reporting intern for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0149.

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