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Do children have a say in Texas child custody arrangements?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Child Custody

Kids of divorce sometimes have strong opinions over child custody arrangements in Texas, especially those old enough to understand. However, because they are children, courts are hesitant to allow kids to chime in on these decisions.

With that said, there are certain situations in which a child may sway a Houston court’s child custody decisions. If your child is asking to live with one parent over the other, it is crucial to find out just how much decision-making power your child may have.

What does the Texas legal code say?

A child may not officially decide which parent to live with, but the court listens to the wishes of children 12 and older. During custody proceedings, a judge may speak with children in their chambers to uncover these preferences. Other related matters addressed in the Texas family law code include the following:

  • Judges will not typically consider the wishes of children unless a party (a parent, legal advocate, etc.) files a motion asking them to do so.  
  • Appropriately aged children may also voice their opinions to the judge about visitation matters and primary custody.
  • When a judge discusses child custody and visitation with a child, it becomes part of the official divorce record, and the court may use it in making custody decisions.
  • Regardless of having interviewed a child and listened to their preferences, it is still the judge’s responsibility to make custody decisions that preserve the child’s best interests.

A child’s preference is just one issue to learn about as you enter the child custody stage of divorce. If you want to ensure you and your child’s rights remain protected, it is wise to learn more about child custody laws in the state of Texas.