Previously, the child could file a written preference with the court to inform a judge of his or her preference. But this led to problems when both parents had the child write down his or her name. So now, in a nonjury trial, the judge may interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s preference. One of the parents may request that the judge meets the child.
If the case is a jury trial, though, the child may have to state his or her preference in the hearing.
When children are involved in divorces, it can make an already difficult process even more so. Custody is a major factor in divorces involving children, and the court will consider a number of factors when making its decision about with which parent the child will primarily reside. One of those factors, in some cases, is the child’s own preferences.
It is important to know how a child’s participation could affect child custody in Texas. Below are three vital facts about child participation in custody decisions.
The Child’s Age Plays a Role in Having a Say in Child Custody in Texas
According to the Family Code, Section 153.009, the court will interview a child who is 12 years of age or older to determine the child’s wishes about which parent he or she would like to live with primarily. They also discuss the child’s wishes as to possession, access, or any other issue affecting the parent-child relationship.
If one of the parents requests the interview, then the judge will meet with the child. The judge may or may not choose to interview a child who is under the age of 12 at the parent’s request.
Child Custody in Texas is Still at the Court’s Discretion
While the court will take a child’s wishes into consideration about primary residence and visitation, it is still at the discretion of the court as to which parent will be the child’s primary guardian. So just because a child says she wishes to live with her father, for example, does not mean that will be the court’s decision regardless of the child’s age.
The court will always act in the child’s best interest when making decisions about custody, child support, etc. The child’s preference is only one of the factors the court may choose to consider.
Other factors that might affect a court’s child custody decision are as follows.
- History of domestic violence
- History of sexual abuse
- Ability of either parent to provide for the child’s needs
- Ability of either parent to provide a safe home
- Relationship between the child and parents
Get Legal Representation for Cases of Child Custody in Texas
Like most Plano families who have gone through a custody battle, the process of determining with which parent the child will primarily reside can be a difficult one for everybody involved. Make sure you have legal representation to help you present your case and represent your rights through all stages of the divorce or custody process.
Call Warren and Migliaccio at (888) 584-9614 today to set up your free consultation. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule your appointment.