Ask a Lawyer: What is the age a child can decide to live with the noncustodial parent

Question:

If there are no serious issues between divorced parents, can a child just decide that they want to live with their noncustodial parent, even if the parent who has custody does not want it ? If so, what is the age ?(In Texas) Thank you, Gina

Answer:

I cannot answer your questions specifically to the laws of Texas as I am not licensed in that State. It is possible that there is a specific statute in your State that provides for an age for a child to determine or provide impute into the custody decision. Generally, a child can testify when they are of sufficient maturity to understand and take the oath to testify truthfully. However, the child’s wishes are only one factor in my jurisdiction that the judge uses to determine the best interest of the child and the custody arrangements. Usually by 12 years old a child can testify, but the court will not give much weight to his choice. As the child gets older his wishes carry more weight. By fifteen or sixteen if the child is of general maturity and has logical reasons for changing the custody the court will often abide by the child’s wishes.
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