Children’s Preferences in Custody Actions
In many families, a child will have a closer relationship with one parent than the other. In such instances, if the parents decide to end their relationship, the child may express a desire to live with the parent they feel a greater affinity towards. While the courts may consider children’s preferences in custody actions, they will consider numerous other factors, as well, and simply because a child wishes to live with one parent does not mean that the courts will abide by their request. If you are involved in a custody dispute and are interested in learning more about how the courts determine parental rights, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Dallas child-custody lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and formulate persuasive arguments to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a successful result.Children’s Preferences in Custody Actions
Under Texas law, there are numerous factors the courts must consider in determining conservatorship, possession of, and access to a child. One of the factors is the child’s preference as to which parent dictates their primary residence. At the request of a party, an attorney ad litem for a child, or an amicus attorney, the court will interview the child that is the subject of a custody hearing in chambers to determine their preference with regard to conservatorship or which parent has the right to dictate their primary residence. Notably, the Texas Family Code (the “Code”) states that such an interview is mandatory if the request is made if the child is 12 or older, but the court can decide whether or not to question a child regarding their preference if they are younger than 12. The court can also conduct an interview to determine the child’s preference of its own volition. Regardless of what a child advises the court, the court is bound to issue a ruling that is in the best interests of that child.
Further, the Code dictates that a party can seek a modification of an order establishing possession and access or conservatorship if the modification would be in the child’s best interest and the child is at least 12 years old and has advised the court regarding their preference as to which parent has the sole right to designate their primary residence.Other Factors Weighed in Custody Actions
In addition to children’s preferences in custody actions, the court will consider other relevant factors. These factors include the child’s current and future emotional and physical needs, the ability of each parent to meet such demands, whether either parent or the child suffers from health issues, and whether either parent has a history of abuse or domestic violence. The court will also assess whether each parent is able to provide the child with a healthy and stable environment, which parent historically acted as the primary caretaker of the child, and the child’s relationship with each parent and any other member of their household. No single factor, including the child’s preference, is granted greater weight than any other.Contact a Knowledgeable Dallas Lawyer
Child-custody disputes often involve an interplay of factual, legal, and emotional issues, but the courts make custody decisions solely based on what is best for the child. If you are involved in a disagreement with your co-parent regarding custody, it is smart to contact an attorney to determine your options for protecting your rights. The knowledgeable Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group possess the skills and experience needed to obtain favorable outcomes in family law cases, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We help parties with custody cases in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, and Garland. We also represent people in family-law matters in Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Collin, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential meeting.