Can My Child Help Choose Who Gets Custody in a Divorce?

Photo of an unruly child

In Texas divorces, the judge will give the final decision on which parent will become the custodial parent. Parents may wonder if the court will allow the child to choose which parent they will live with. If you and your spouse are considering divorce or are in the process of divorce, then you should know how much your children will come into play for child custody decisions.

Does My Child’s Preference Matter for Texas Child Custody?

Texas Family Code 153.008 originally allowed children 12 years and older to voice their preferences to the divorce court in writing. Judges used to look at written preferences as evidence, and then would decide on where the child should live based on what was in their best interests. Depending on if the child’s preference had a real significance on his or her best interests, the judge could have placed the child where he or she desired.

However, in 2010, Texas Family Code 153.008 was replaced by Texas Family Code 153.009. Under this new state code, a child who is 12 years or older can speak with the court judge in person. This was put into place to eliminate the possibility of conflicting written evidence, if both parents were to ask the child to submit his or her preference, for example. Now, one or both of the parents can submit a request for the child to speak with the judge in person.

However, it’s important to realize that in Texas, the child’s best interests will always win. This means that the judge can still decide to give custody to the child’s other preference if the judge believes that this decision will be best for the child in the long run.

If you are interested in a Texas divorce and you have more questions about child custody, you should speak with a family law attorney who can guide you along the process. Contact The Julian Firm, P.C. for a free initial consultation to discuss the unique circumstances of your divorce