Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in Texas?


Under Section 153.009 of the Family Law Code, children still have a voice but in a more practical way. Sec. 153.009 allows parents to request that the judge speak with their child. If the child is at least 12-years-old, the judge has to meet with the child. If the child is under the age of 12, the judge has the choice to meet with the child, but a meeting is not required.

Section 153.009 of the Family Law Code does more than address where the child will live, it also touches on visitation and a number of other issues in which the child may have an opinion or preference. Under this section, a child can meet with the judge and voice his or her opinions on visitation, (if the judge agrees to hear the evidence).

It’s important for parents to understand that while their request for an interview between the judge and their child may be granted, the interview is still evidence that the court may use to make a decision. As before, the judge is still the one who ultimately makes the decision regarding custody (unless a parent chooses to submit his or her case to a jury) and possession or access; the law does not require that the judge follow the child’s wishes.


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