In a Texas nonjury custody proceeding, upon the request of a party or certain other interested individuals, the court must interview a child who is at least 12 years old or may interview a child under 12 in chambers to determine their wishes regarding conservatorship or the person who will have the exclusive right to determine their primary residence. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.009(a). The interview is intended to help the court make determinations regarding conservatorship and possession, but the court still has discretion to determine the child’s best interest. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.009(c). Case law has held that the court retains its broad discretion and can either consider the information from the interview or even ignore it. In re A.C. A father recently appealed a modification order that was not consistent with the child’s preference.
The parents were appointed joint managing conservators of their then two-year-old child in their 2009 divorce, with the father having the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence. A modification order in 2013 set forth the mother’s possession schedule, dependent on where she lived.
The mother petitioned for modification in 2021, seeking the right to designate the child’s primary residence without a geographic restriction. She also asked that the father be limited to supervised visitation.