When you and your child’s mother or father are unable to agree to custody terms or parenting time, you may need to have the state of Texas step in and create a custody agreement on your behalf. The state considers a wide variety of variables when deciding where your child should live and when.
Per the Texas State Law Library, whether your child’s wishes factor into a judge’s decision depends to some extent on your child’s age.
When a child has a say
A Texas judge is likely to listen to your child’s preferences about where to live and when if your son or daughter is at least 12 years of age. However, your child’s degree of maturity may also help determine how likely a judge is to give weight to his or her wishes. Keep in mind, though, that while a 12-year-old child may be able to voice his or her custodial preferences to a judge, the judge has no obligation to heed those wishes.
What other variables matter
If a judge does consider your child’s preferences when making custody decisions, this is just one of many factors he or she may consider. The existing relationships between you and your child and your child’s other parent and your child fall under the microscope. So, too, do the living situations, financial resources and general parenting abilities of each parent, among other variables. Your child’s emotional and health needs, and each parent’s ability to fulfill them, may also carry weight in a Texas custody case.
Not every family needs to have the state come up with a custody plan on its behalf. However, if you and your child’s other parent disagree over terms, this may be your only option.