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How children voice their preferences in a child custody matter

| Jul 7, 2020 | Child Custody |

Raising children in Texas requires parents to make many decisions for their children. It requires meeting their needs and ensuring they have good opportunities. It also requires setting rules and making sure their children follow them. These types of decisions are sometimes difficult to make, but it is part of being a parent. This is also true when parents are married or if parents are divorced.

When parents are divorced though, they must conduct much of their parenting during their parenting time as they will no longer be living together. However, people need to determine child custody and the parenting time schedule first. This involves either parents reaching agreements on these issues or ultimately having a judge make the decisions for them. If the parents cannot make an agreement and a judge needs to make the decisions they will do so based on what is in the best interests of the children.

In order to determine the best interests of the children, the judge will analyze a number of factors. One of those factors are the preferences of the children. Most adults will give their preferences in court through their testimony. However, the procedure for children is different. If the judge or another party wants the child’s preferences known, children are interviewed by the judge separately from the court room. Upon a motion, the judge must interview children over the age of 12 and have the discretion to interview children under 12 years old.

There are many different factors that judges must analyze when making child custody determinations. These factors include the preferences of the children depending on their age. The older and more mature the child, the more their preferences may matter to the judge. However, the child’s preference is just one of the factors that the judge analyzes and is not the final say. The judge still must analyze the other factors as well. Experienced attorneys understand these fact-specific and complicated matters and may be able to guide one through the process.