Can children express their custody preferences?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Child Custody Disputes

In Texas, children’s voices in custody cases are acknowledged and considered when determining their living arrangements. Children aged 12 and older may be able to express their preferences regarding which parent they want to live with. While their preference is not the sole deciding factor, it can carry weight in court proceedings.

The child’s preference

It is important to understand that the child’s preference must stem from their own genuine desires. It should be free from any undue influence or pressure from either parent. The court aims to ensure that they uphold the child’s best interests. They may take into account the child’s wishes while considering other crucial factors, such as:

  • The child’s emotional and physical well-being
  • The quality of the parent-child relationship
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable and nurturing environment
  • Any history of abuse or neglect

These are just some additional factors influencing the court’s decision. The court’s ultimate goal is to create a custody arrangement that promotes the child’s best interests.

What happens during the proceedings?

During the legal proceedings, the court may interview the child privately to ascertain their preferences. The court will consider the child’s age, maturity level, and ability to make informed decisions. The judge will carefully evaluate all the information provided, including the child’s preference, to make a fair custody determination in the child’s best interests.

It is important to note that each custody case is unique. The court’s decision may vary based on specific circumstances. But while their preference is not the sole determining factor, it can influence custody decisions. Seeking legal guidance is crucial to navigating the legal process effectively and ensuring the child’s voice is heard and considered.