Age Of Choice Child Custody In TX
Child Wants To Live With Non Custodial Parent Texas
Custody disputes are some of the toughest divorce issues to resolve and they often have a negative effect on children. Children often express their desire to live with one parent over the other but only the court can make that decision. Many Texans believe that a 12-year-old child can decide which parent to live with but that is a common misconception and a child’s input is only one factor of many that a court uses to make its decisions on custody.
The reason for this is that children often choose to primarily reside with the parent who buys them more things or will buy them a fancy car, rather than the parent that enforces rules that allow the child to grow into a healthy adult. It is also possible that a parent may manipulate and attempt to pressure their child and try to influence a child about what the child should say to a judge.
What Does The Family Texas Code Say?
When Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With In Texas
According to the Texas Family Code section 153.009:
(a) In a nonjury trial or at a hearing, on the application of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child, the court shall interview in chambers a child 12 years of age or older and may interview in chambers a child under 12 years of age to determine the child’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. The court may also interview a child in chambers on the court’s own motion for a purpose specified by this subsection.
(b) In a nonjury trial or at a hearing, on the application of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child or on the court’s own motion, the court may interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s wishes as to possession, access, or any other issue in the suit affecting the parent-child relationship.
(c) Interviewing a child does not diminish the discretion of the court in determining the best interests of the child.
(d) In a jury trial, the court may not interview the child in chambers regarding an issue on which a party is entitled to a jury verdict.
(e) In any trial or hearing, the court may permit the attorney for a party, the amicus attorney, the guardian ad litem for the child, or the attorney ad litem for the child to be present at the interview.
(f) On the motion of a party, the amicus attorney, or the attorney ad litem for the child, or on the court’s own motion, the court shall cause a record of the interview to be made when the child is 12 years of age or older. A record of the interview shall be part of the record in the case.
Why Does The Judge Interview The Child?
Can 12 Year Old Decide Which Parent Live With
Under Tex. Fam. Code §153.009, when a Motion For Judge to Confer With Child is filed for a child over the age of 12 years of age, the judge shall interview a child that is 12 years or older in the judge’s chambers to listen to the child’s wishes on custody. The Court may permit the attorney for a party, an amicus attorney, a guardian ad litem for the child, and the court’s court reporter to be present during the interview.
Most judges have strong feelings about interviewing a child and oftentimes will only interview the child in chambers at the conclusion of a hearing after all of the other evidence in the case is presented. The judge is not bound by what the child says about their wishes as to custody and will consider that as one of many factors and will make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. Parents should carefully consider if they want to pursue a Motion for Judge to Confer with Child as many children do not want to be in the middle of the parent’s dispute about custody and may feel a lot of pressure about this.