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Can children request a change in their custody?

Residents of Fort Worth, Texas, and Tarrant, Texas, often find themselves in child custody situations. Some of those situations are the result of the parents getting divorced or separating if never married. In each case, child custody arrangements are made by the parents themselves or by the court. Either way, a challenge that often arises is when the children say that they want to live with the current noncustodial parent. Many parents have questions about what effect that can have.

What is necessary for a child's custody request to be granted?

First and foremost, the current noncustodial parent has to be willing to take custody. Their willingness to take custody will involve a number of things, such as their bond with the child, their ability to provide day-to-day care for the child and how much time they have available around work and other obligations.

If the noncustodial parent and the child want to live together, does that guarantee it happening?

No. First, the child's request with be looked at in combination with the child's age and maturity level. If the court does not feel that the child is sufficiently mature to make a decision about where to live, they will not give any weight to the child's request. Additionally, the court will factor in what it refers to as the best interests of the child when deciding about any possible change in custody.

What if both parents agree to the change?

In cases where the parents have sufficient maturity to come to a reasonable agreement, the child can live with the parent of his or her choice if the previous parenting arrangement was just between the parents. However, if the previous parenting arrangement was by court order, then the court will need to approve the change. Of course, the ultimate matter of importance is the child's health and happiness.

Source: FindLaw, "Can a Child Decide to Live With the Noncustodial Parent?," George Khoury, accessed April 03, 2018

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