If you and the other parent of your child are in agreement to change your current custody arrangement due to your child’s preference, you can do a simple agreed modification which will involve minimal court involvement.
If you and the other parent are not in agreement to change custody to reflect your child’s desires, you’ll need to file a modification in a suit affecting a parent-child relationship. Once that suit has been filed, Texas Family Code Section 153.009 allows a parent to request the judge presiding over their case confer with the child or children over the age of 12. This is the opportunity for your child to express their desire as to which parent they would like to live with.
The judge will meet with the child in chambers and during that discussion the child can tell the judge which parent they desire to live with. This allows a child to state their preference of where to live, however the judge will only take that preference into account, but the child won’t have the final say. The judge will take the child’s desires into account when determining what is in the best interest of that child.
Texas family court judges look at many factors when determining the best interest of a child, including the emotional and physical needs, a parent’s abilities to meet the needs of the child, the stability of the home, and the desires of the child. The Court may decide that the desires of the child and what is in the best interest of the child may conflict. In that situation, the court will likely decline to place the child in the home the child has expressed a desire to reside.
If you have a child who is over the age of 12 and has expressed a desire to change your current conservatorship arrangement, please contact the child custody lawyers at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC to assist you in modifying your current arrangement.