Fam. Code Section 201.007
Powers of Associate Judge
(a)Except as limited by an order of referral, an associate judge may:
(1)conduct a hearing;
(3)compel production of relevant evidence;
(4)rule on the admissibility of evidence;
(5)issue a summons for:
(A)the appearance of witnesses; and
(B)the appearance of a parent who has failed to appear before an agency authorized to conduct an investigation of an allegation of abuse or neglect of a child after receiving proper notice;
(6)examine a witness;
(7)swear a witness for a hearing;
(8)make findings of fact on evidence;
(9)formulate conclusions of law;
(10)recommend an order to be rendered in a case;
(11)regulate all proceedings in a hearing before the associate judge;
(12)order the attachment of a witness or party who fails to obey a subpoena;
(13)order the detention of a witness or party found guilty of contempt, pending approval by the referring court as provided by Section 201.013 (Order of Court);
(14)without prejudice to the right to a de novo hearing before the referring court under Section 201.015 (De Novo Hearing Before Referring Court) and subject to Subsection (c), render and sign:
(A)a final order agreed to in writing as to both form and substance by all parties;
(B)a final default order;
(C)a temporary order; or
(D)a final order in a case in which a party files an unrevoked waiver made in accordance with Rule 119, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, that waives notice to the party of the final hearing or waives the party’s appearance at the final hearing;
(15)take action as necessary and proper for the efficient performance of the associate judge’s duties; and
(16)render and sign a final order if the parties waive the right to a de novo hearing before the referring court under Section 201.015 (De Novo Hearing Before Referring Court) in writing before the start of a hearing conducted by the associate judge.
(b)An associate judge may, in the interest of justice, refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
(c)A final order described by Subsection (a)(14) becomes final after the expiration of the period described by Section 201.015 (De Novo Hearing Before Referring Court)(a) if a party does not request a de novo hearing in accordance with that section. An order described by Subsection (a)(14) or (16) that is rendered and signed by an associate judge constitutes an order of the referring court.
(d)An answer filed by or on behalf of a party who previously filed a waiver described in Subsection (a)(14)(D) shall revoke that waiver.
(e)An order signed before May 1, 2017, by an associate judge under Subsection (a)(16) is a final order rendered as of the date the order was signed.
Section 201.007 — Powers of Associate Judge,
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.201.htm#201.007 (accessed Dec. 2, 2023).