Texas Law and Teen Preference of Modification of Custody

by Ricardo Barrera

Neurotic teenage kid is not willing to answer uncomfortable questions

Texas law does provide that a child 12 and up may confer with the court as to their preference relating to which parent they would like to primarily reside with. However, the preference of the child alone is not enough. The court requires clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child to modify their custody or conservatorship. 

Factors including: grades, attendance, issues of alcohol or drug abuse by a parent, and the overall best interest of the child are taken very seriously. Children do not know what is best for them – that is the position of the court. Therefore, the case must proceed with strong arguments as to why it is best for them to experience a change of custody.  

Oftentimes, the court will appoint a representative of the child to assist in providing arguments and evidence as to the best interest of the child. It is important that the person appointed is selected as to their experience and training. It is also important that the attorney advocating for the change be proactive in aligning with the expectations of that representative. 

Usually, the closer a teenager is to emancipation may be compelling on the court to abide by their wishes. This is because the law takes into account the development of the teenager being closer to adulthood and understands that it is in their best interest to assist the child in achieving a reasonable goal of bonding with another parent. 

However, sometimes even if they are closer to emancipation, the court still reviews whether the other parent is capable of providing a safe and nurturing environment for the child, especially if the child’s expectations is to modify custody to escape discipline or reasonable household rules. 

For more information regarding your rights as a parent and custody of your child, call The Barrera Law Firm at 956-428-2822 or reach out to us online.



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