When parents or the courts work to reach resolutions regarding child custody, they always consider what is best for the child. However, do children have a say in their final custody agreement? Calfas Law Group, PLLC will explore this question, explaining when a child’s preferences may come into play.
How Old is The Child?
In most cases, a court will consider the wishes of the child when determining how to handle custody arrangements. According to Texas law, children ages 12 and older must be able to express their preference as to which parent they want to live with. The court will use this information as one factor in its decision-making process. However, it is essential to note that it is not guaranteed that the court will follow the child’s preference. The final decision about custody rests solely with the court and its determination of what is in the child's best interest.
What Are The Circumstances?
The court is not obligated to interview or speak directly with a minor under 12 years old before making a custody determination; however, certain circumstances might be appropriate for them to do so. Generally speaking, if domestic violence or abuse is involved in the case, then it might be necessary for the judge to talk with all minors involved. This allows the child to provide their input and opinion on who they would feel safest living with or having visitation rights. Additionally, if both parents agree that it would be beneficial for the judge to hear from all minors involved, regardless of age, then that can happen by request.
What if My Child is Asked?
When a minor gets asked about their custodial preference for either parent, they need to take this opportunity seriously and consider why they want one parent over another if possible. Suppose a minor expresses their opinion but doesn't explain why they feel a certain way. In that case, it could end up hurting their chances of getting what they expressed instead of helping it because, without context or reasoning, it could seem arbitrary or uninformed by comparison when deciding on who has more parental rights regarding visitation and/or custody.
Allow Our Experienced Attorneys to Provide Input
Ultimately when looking at Texas law regarding minors being able to express their preferences on custodial matters during divorce proceedings between parents, children aged 12 and older can express their preferences. However, a judge may only ask younger minors directly if there are other extenuating circumstances, such as domestic violence or abuse.
Do you think your child has a say in your custody arrangement? It is still important to work with experienced attorneys. You can contact our team at (210) 405-8315 for assistance today.