As a Dallas divorce and child custody attorney at The Blacknall Firm, I often get asked by parents if their child can choose which parent they want to live with during a divorce. The answer is not as simple as a yes or no.
The Legal Standard for Custody in Texas
In Texas, the court’s primary concern when making decisions about child custody is the best interest of the child. This means that the court will consider a variety of factors to determine what living arrangement is in the child’s best interest. These factors include the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs, as well as the parents’ ability to provide for those needs.
Can a Child Express a Preference in Texas?
While a child’s preference is not the only factor that the court will consider, it can be taken into account when determining what is in the child’s best interest. In Texas, a child who is at least 12 years old can express a preference for which parent they want to live with. The court will then consider the child’s preference along with all the other relevant factors to make a final decision.
Is the Child’s Preference Always Followed?
It’s important to note that just because a child expresses a preference for one parent does not mean that the court will automatically award custody to that parent. The court’s ultimate decision is based on what is in the child’s best interest, and the child’s preference is just one of many factors that the court will consider.
Other Factors that May Influence the Court’s Decision
Other factors that may influence the court’s decision include the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s relationship with any siblings, each parent’s financial stability and ability to provide for the child, and any history of abuse or neglect.
In conclusion, while a child’s preference can be taken into account in a divorce and child custody case, it is not the only factor that the court will consider. The court’s ultimate goal is to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child, taking all relevant factors into consideration.
If you need representation in a divorce or child custody matter, please schedule a consultation.