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Will a child’s wishes influence Texas custody orders?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | Family Law |

Parents will see the relationship that they have with each of their children change drastically throughout their childhood and adolescence. It is normal for parents to occasionally go through times when their relationship with their children is a bit rocky, especially during puberty and the high school years.

It is, therefore, very common for Texas parents to worry that the current, strained nature of their relationship with their child will have a negative impact on their rights during custody matters. Parents may feel concerned that the child will choose to spend all of their time with the other parent and will forego parenting time with them. Do Texas parents need to worry about a child choosing to cut them out of their lives?

Minor children do not control custody proceedings

Texas custody matters, according to the law, should always prioritize the best interest of the children in the household. Even the most mature teenager will struggle to really understand what is best for their long-term development. They rely on parents to make informed decisions on their behalf.

Although Texas family law judges can interview minor children to hear what their preferences are regarding where they live and how the courts divide parenting time, the courts do not automatically accede to a child’s requests. They will merely take them into consideration when making decisions about the living circumstances and division of parenting responsibility.

In most cases, judges will try to keep both parents actively involved with the children even if the child currently has a strained relationship with one of the adults in their family. The opinions of children over the age of 12 may bear more weight than the requests of younger children, but even then, a child must be 18 before they can choose to cut off a relationship with one of their parents in Texas.

Learning more about the rules that govern the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities between Texas parents can help people approach custody matters with more confidence and clarity.