Jo Sutch NO rule on 12 year old’s right to choose 

………………There Is No Rule That Children Get To Pick A Parent When They Are 12 Years of Age 
Everyone seems to believe that when children are 12, they are allowed to choose the parent with whom they want to live. Although children are permitted to express a preference at age 12, the court will ultimately decide what is in the child’s best interest. Until recently, a child was able to state his or her preference by filing a statement of preference with the court. Out of concern about the “dueling affidavits” that resulted and a desire to keep children from being involved in adult disputes, the legislature repealed this feature of the Texas Family Code. A new law, effective September 1, 2009, removes the authorization for courts to consider these statements of preference. Instead, the law permits a child 12 years of age or older to express his or her preference only through an interview with the judge in chambers. 
Since the law has only recently been passed, there are unanswered questions as to how courts will handle the new system. Judges have expressed concern over whether they must grant in-chambers meetings with every child over 12 years of age who wishes to express a preference and whether the other side would be entitled to notice or if it would be an ex parte communication.


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