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Legislature Changes Deadlines in Family Court De Novo Hearings Again

Michael Busby

Part of the 2013 changes to the Texas family code limited the time a party has to appeal from the decision of an associate Judge in a family law matter.  The change restored old law which gave families 3 days to appeal the ruling.  The changed to 7 days was more friendly to both attorneys and pro se litigants.  Judicial efficiency it seems was the focus of the 2013 Texas Legislative session vs. government providing its citizens access to the courts.  A judge is allowed to refer certain matters as a right to the their associate judge.  Under certain types of hearings a party may either appeal or object to the referral.  Pretty much all hearings except final trial and certain post-judgment hearings can be referred to the associate judge.  While a final trial a party may object to the referral and the elected judge must hear a final trial.  Judges are people and make mistakes.  To question a judges decision takes about 8 months, if the judge is elected through an appeals process.  If the Judge is hired, then you can question the decision in about 30 days, but you must timely file your request for de novo hearing.  Judges, although tasked with certain authority, many times are just as quick as you to leave work and make it home at the end of day.  Given a change to pass the “buick” almost every judge this attorney has seen will be as quick as they can to refer a case to another.  The logistics of the courtroom should be addressed with either hiring more judges, or making the judges work a 40 hour workweek, not by limiting parties substantive rights or creating more red tape to deny them access to the courts.

To schedule a consultation, call us today at (713) 974-1151 or visit me on the web at


Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at


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Legislature Changes Deadlines in Family Court De Novo Hearings Again


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