When Does a Child’s Preference Matter in a Custody Case?

Child Custody

If you are in the middle of a child custody dispute, you may be wondering if your child’s preference may play a role in the court’s decision. Family courts take many factors, which are often referred to as the best interests of the child, into consideration when rendering child custody decisions. In some cases, that may also include the preference of the child.

Considering the Preference of the Child

In Texas, a parent or court-appointed attorney who is representing the child’s interests can request the judge to interview a child who is 12 years of age or more. However, if the child is under 12 years of age, this decision will be left up to the judge. These interviews are conducted in the judge’s office. The respective attorneys of each parent and any attorney that may be representing the child’s interests are allowed to be present during the interview.

That said, even in cases where a judge takes the time to interview the child, it does not mean they will base the custody decision on their wishes. A judge must also assess the child’s level of maturity and ability to make sound, reasonable judgments. The older your child is, the more weight a judge will likely give their opinion.

Additionally, a judge will also attempt to assess if the child’s preference is based on the undue influence of a parent. If it seems that a parent is trying to nudge a child in a certain direction with the promise of gifts or if one parent is always disparaging the other in front of the child, a judge will take this into account and likely discount the wishes of the child.

Discuss the Details of Your Child Custody Case with an Experienced Child Custody Attorney

If you are in the middle of a child custody battle, the legal team at the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC can provide the strong legal support and knowledgeable guidance you need to navigate it and overcome any potential obstacles you may face. Our attorneys are backed by more than 50 years of combined experience and a reputation for success. You can rely on us to help you obtain the most favorable results for your child custody case.

Reach out to our law firm today at (832) 210-1698 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to discuss the details of your case!

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