Can children decide where they want to live at age 12?

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Can children decide where they want to live at age 12?

My oldest daughter is about to turn 12 in June. Her dad has been coaching her since the divorce and telling her that she can decide where she would like to live at age 12. I’m a homemaker and my husband now works a full time job. Her dad is working full time and traveling all the time. His wife works full time and long hours. Could she decide to live with her dad even though I’m home and she has three other sisters in this home. I don’t want to break up our family. Can you help me?

Asked on March 25, 2009 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

S.B.A., Member, California and Texas Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Courts in Tx may consider the child's wishes if the child is 12 years of age, or older.  This doesn't mean that the Court which has jurisdiction of your case WOULD consider your daughter's wishes, but they may.

Check on your jurisdiction. In most counties in Tx, there is no dedicated Family Law court - the cases are assigned to District Courts. Locate your past orders, check on who the Judge is, in that court, and check with an attorney as to how that Judge normally handles children's requests and changes of status/custody requests in general.

Even if her Dad did file for a change in custody, based upon your daughter's wish, you can submit argument as to why the move would be injurious (detriment in change of school & athletics, loss of support system for your daughter, etc.)

 


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