D. Judicial Action on Associate Judge's Proposed Order or Judgment

Parties can forego their right to have their case decided by the referring court in two ways: a party can waive the right to a de novo hearing by executing a waiver prior to the hearing or trial before the associate judge or the party can fail to or forego filing a request for a de novo hearing within the time required by statute on the back end. Thus, if a request for a de novo hearing before the referring court is not timely filed or the right to de novo hearing before the referring court is waived, the proposed order or judgment of the associate judge, becomes the order of the referring court by operation of law without ratification by the referring court. Tex. Fam. Code § 201.2041(a). Further, regardless of whether a de novo hearing is requested before the referring court, a proposed order or judgment rendered by an associate judge that meets the requirements of Tex. Fam. Code § 263.401(d) is considered a final order for purposes of Tex. Fam. Code § 263.401. Tex. Fam. Code § 201.2041(b).