Can a child choose to live where they want to live?
Eric Higgins’ Answer:
In Texas, the children do not get to choose who they want to live with during and after divorce. In my 20-plus years of practice, the process has changed somewhat and the legislature has toyed with how to handle child custody. At this time in Texas, if you’re going to have a trial before a judge and you want the children to express their wishes about conservatorship, access, or what the schedule is going to be, you can request the judge interview the children in chambers. If a child is 12 years of age or older, the court has the discretion to say that they’re not going to interview that child. The misconception is that the child gets to go in and tell the judge where they want to live and then the judge comes out and just announces a decision consistent with the child’s wishes. I don’t find that to be true; as a matter of fact, I find that a lot of our judges would prefer not to interview the children because the decision about where a child’s going to live primarily is left up to the court if the parents can’t agree. The interview process is just one factor that the courts are going to consider in ultimately making their decision regarding custody and access.