The way that you choose to split up child custody can easily become the most contentious issue in your divorce. Both you and your ex probably want as much parenting time as possible with your kids, which can make compromise very difficult. The courts may have to step in to split up custody, and children may have the right to make their opinion on custody matters known.

Some parents will even go so far as to attempt to manipulate the children by presenting themselves as the fun or permissive parent that lets them do whatever they want. If you worry that your adolescent or teenage children might ask the court to live with your ex because of their permissive behavior, then better understanding how a child’s opinion impacts custody determinations could give you peace of mind.

The child’s preference isn’t the only factor in their best interests

Texas family court judges should always focus on the best interests of the children in a custody situation when deciding how to allocate parenting time or custody. Children age 12 or older may have the right to make their preferences known in custody proceedings.

While the child’s preferences should play a role in that decision, judges also need to consider the fact that kids don’t always make decisions in their own best interests. A parent who lets them stay up past curfew or eat junk food may seem like more fun for the children, but that kind of lifestyle isn’t going to benefit anyone in the long term.

If you can show the courts either through the testimony of your children or through documentation, such as records from text messages or social media posts, that permissiveness instead of a strong parental bond is what inspired your children’s choice, the courts will likely take that into consideration when determining how to split up custody.