B. De Novo Hearings

Texas Family Code Section 201.015 applies to a request for a de novo hearing before the referring court for matters adjudicated by an associate judge appointed under Subchapter A and C. Under Section 201.015, when a case is referred to an associate judge for any authorized purpose, a party may request a de novo hearing before the referring court by filing a written request with the clerk of the referring court not later than the third working day after the date the party receives notice of [the substance of the associate judge's ruling or order].[45] For de novo hearings requested in matters handled by associate judges appointed under Subchapter C, the party requesting the de novo hearing must file notice with the clerk of the referring court as well as the court to ensure that the referring court judge is timely notified along with the clerk of the court. The referring court must conduct the de novo hearing within thirty days of the request,[46] and de novo hearings are limited to the specific issues stated in the de novo hearing request.[47]

Parties may present witnesses at the de novo hearing, and the referring court may consider the record from the hearing before the associate judge, including any charge to the jury and any verdict returned, if the matter was tried before a jury.[48] Although a party may request a de novo hearing before the referring court, a party is not entitled to demand a second jury if the order or proposed judgment reviewed by the referring court was the result of a jury trial presided over by the associate judge in the first instance.[49]