When Can a Child Decide which Parent They Want to Live With?

There are two types of child custody in the state of Texas:

• Joint managing conservatorship in which parents work together to decide on major issues
• Sole managing conservatorship in which only the custodial parent makes decisions regarding most issues

During child custody hearings or as part of your divorce proceedings, the court will determine which of these is in the best interest of all involved children. If the children involved are under the age of 12, only extenuating circumstances such as abuse, neglect, or a history of conflict will impact the court’s decision in this matter. When children are over the age of 12, their wishes, along with other factors, will be considered when determining which parent is awarded primary custody.

Allowing a child’s wishes to be heard does not necessarily mean a 12-year-old is empowered to choose his or her primary residence. However, the child’s wishes will influence the court’s decision and can play a role in determining which parent will maintain primary custody.


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