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Can My Child Choose Who They Will Live with After a Divorce?

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Child Custody, Family Law |

Child custody and visitation, known as conservatorship and possession in Texas, are undoubtedly emotionally charged matters. During parental disputes, children may often feel like they have no voice and are caught in the crossfire. At Moran Law Firm, we understand the sensitivity surrounding these issues and are here to guide you through the complexities of conservatorship and possession under Texas law.

Understanding Child Preference

Under the Texas Family Code, when a child reaches the age of 12, they are considered mature enough to express their preference to the Judge regarding which parent they would like to live with as the primary conservator. However, it’s crucial to note that the child’s preference does not constitute the final say in determining their primary residence; only a Judge holds that authority if the parents are unable to reach an agreement.

How It Works

When a party requests it, the Judge is required to meet with a child who is at least 12 years old to hear their preference regarding primary conservatorship. For children under 12, the court may choose to listen to their input but is not obligated to do so. Additionally, when it comes to issues related to possession and access, the Judge has discretion in deciding whether to meet with the children to gather their input. Different counties in Texas may employ various approaches to obtain this crucial information.

Meeting Location and Attorney Presence

The Judge has the discretion to permit the presence of attorneys during the interview, but this is generally discouraged to prevent the child from feeling intimidated.  Either attorney may request a court reporter.

Typically, Judges choose to conduct these interviews in their offices, creating a more child-friendly atmosphere compared to a courtroom setting. However, Judges may wear their black robes during the interview to remind the child that they hold the authority to make the final decisions regarding custody and possession.

At Moran Law Firm, we recognize the intricacies and sensitivities involved in child custody and visitation cases. Our experienced legal team is here to provide you with the guidance and support needed to navigate these challenging situations while ensuring the best interests of your children are upheld. If you have questions or require assistance with conservatorship and possession matters, contact us today to schedule a consultation.