When Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With?

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October 15, 2022 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

When a marriage or relationship ends, it can be difficult to figure out what arrangement is best for the children. Sometimes, the parents can work together to make a joint custody arrangement that works well for everyone. Other times, one parent may have primary custody and the other parent has visitation rights.

And in some cases, the child may get to choose which parent he or she wants to live with. But when does a child have this right?

It’s a question that many children of divorced or separated parents face: when can they decide which parent to live with? The answer, unfortunately, is not always clear. In some cases, a child may be able to express a preference for one parent over the other, but in others they may not have a say at all.

Ultimately, the decision will likely come down to what is in the best interests of the child as determined by a judge. There are a few factors that a judge will consider when making this determination. One is the child’s age; generally speaking, an older child’s opinion will carry more weight than that of a younger child.

Another is the relationship between the child and each parent; if one parent has been significantly more involved in the child’s life than the other, that may be taken into account. Additionally, any history of abuse or neglect by either parent will also be considered. Ultimately, it is important to remember that even if a child does have a preference for which parent they would like to live with, the court may not necessarily rule in their favor.

The best interests of the child are always paramount and will be given greatest consideration by the court.

At what age can a child decide with which parent they want to live?

When Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With? near San Antonio, Tx

When a child is old enough to express a preference, the court will usually give considerable weight to the child’s wishes. Factors the court may consider in making its decision include: • The child’s age

• The child’s relationship with each parent • Each parent’s home environment

When Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With?

Credit: attorneyholcomb.com

Can a 14 Year Old Choose Which Parent to Live With in Texas?

In Texas, a child cannot choose which parent to live with until they turn 18. The court will usually make a decision based on the best interest of the child, taking into account things like which parent the child has a stronger relationship with, which parent can provide a stable home environment, and which parent is more likely to encourage visitation with the other parent. If you are a 14 year old in Texas who is not happy living with your current custodial parent, you may be able to request a change in custody through the court.

At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in Texas?

In Texas, a child can refuse to see a parent when they turn 18 years old. However, if the child is still a minor, the court may order that the child must continue to have contact with both parents.


It is not uncommon for children to express a preference for which parent they would like to live with after their parents divorce. In some cases, the child’s preference may be based on a legitimate reason, such as feeling closer to one parent or having a better relationship with one parent. In other cases, the child’s preference may be more about what the child perceives as being in his or her best interest, such as believing that he or she will have more freedom with one parent.

Regardless of the reasons behind a child’s preferences, courts typically give great weight to a child’s wishes when making custody decisions.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …