Can My Kids Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?
You’ve heard the rumors—that kids can simply flip a coin and pick a parent in a Texas divorce, but never fear, that’s not how it works. Texas family courts always put the best interest of the children first, and there is no specific age in which children are handed the reigns related to this momentous decision. While you’ve probably heard that 12-year-olds can make such decisions in Texas, that’s not the case.
In most Texas divorces, children split their time between both parents. Any number of schedules can be implemented, and they’re typically based on what works best for all involved—for both parents and for all the children. As children grow up and their schedules change, so to do their needs related to moving back and forth between parents. What works for preschoolers very well may not work for children in middle school. As parents’ schedules change and as children develop and their schedules change, the split custody arrangements usually evolve right along with these changes.
As your children get older and become drivers (usually at about 16), their level of independence can do an about-face—suddenly they can get themselves where they need to be (or they’re better able to do so). This is when many divorced couples see their carefully crafted visitation schedules fall by the wayside. This is a natural stage in the process, and most divorced parents can find ways to adapt to the changed circumstances.
When It’s More Serious
If you have a pressing reason that’s relevant to your child’s best interests that makes you want your child to speak to the court and share his or her desire to live solely with you, the courts are willing and able to interview in closed quarters any such child who’s at least 12 years old (after the appropriate motion has been filed). What’s important to remember is that, while the judge will listen to your child, that judge’s ultimate decision will be based on what he or she determines is in the best interest of the child—and not based on the child’s current druthers.
As such, this is rarely a useful option—but that doesn’t mean it’s never appropriate. Your experienced divorce attorney will work with you to help determine what’s best for your unique case and for your child.
Consult a Richmond, Texas, Divorce Attorney
Divorce is never easy, but the most difficult issue is always child custody, which can be heartbreaking. An experienced divorce attorney will work with you to help you hammer out a split custody schedule that works for you. The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., in Richmond, Texas, understands what you’re going through, and we’re here to help. Attorney Frank J. Vendt has the experience and compassion to help ensure that the most important element of your divorce—your children’s welfare and well-being—is well represented. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Vendt, call our office today at (832) 276-9474 or send us an email through our online contact form.