When you split from your husband or wife in Texas and the two of you share a child, you may need to create a formal custody arrangement outlining which parent has possession of your shared child and when. If you and your ex do not agree to custody terms, then the state may have to step in and formulate a custody arrangement on your behalf. Under these circumstances, you may wonder if the judge overseeing your case is going to listen to your son or daughter’s wishes.
Per the Texas State Law Library, the main determining factor in whether a judge lets your child voice custody preferences is his or her age.
How old a child must be to voice preferences
As a general rule, the state gives your child a chance to offer an opinion about custody terms if either parent wants the judge presiding over the case to do so – and if your child is at least 12. While children mature at different ages, most children who reach the age of 12 should be able to offer a thoughtful opinion about where they want to live moving forward.
What determines if a judge heeds your child’s wishes
While a child who is 12 or older may tell a judge where he or she wants to live, this does not mean the child’s wishes automatically come to fruition. The judge still has a duty to make decisions that are in the best interests of your child. If your child wants a living arrangement the judge does not consider to be in his or her best interests, the judge is unlikely to sign off on the proposed custody terms.
Many other factors, such as each parent’s parenting abilities and child-rearing efforts, to date, also come into play in a Texas child custody case.