Divorce won’t just damage the relationship you have with your spouse if they are the other parent of your children. It will also change the dynamic between you and your children. It’s normal for children to go through a tough time if their parents divorce. They might let anger and frustration at the changes in their lives affect their moods and even their performance at school.
Sometimes, especially if the children blame you for the divorce or if you already had a tenuous relationship because of puberty or other issues, divorce can cause estrangement between you and your children. You may worry that given the opportunity, they will cease spending time with you. On the other hand, you might worry that a judge could force your children to interact with your ex who is abusive or cold toward the children.
How much weight will the preferences of the children carry during divorce proceedings?
A child’s preference might play a role
According to Texas state statutes, a family law judge has to consider numerous details about a family’s circumstances when creating a custody order. They have to look at the relationship the parents have had with the children, their ability to meet the children’s needs and the family member’s schedules.
In some cases, the preferences of the children can play a role as well. Provided that your children are 12 years of age or older and sufficiently mature, a judge may take their preferences into consideration when creating a custody order. However, the child’s preference will only be one of multiple factors that a judge will consider.
Children often put short-term gratification ahead of their long-term needs, so a judge must weigh their stated preferences with what the judge believes is in their best interests. While the children may not get to dictate where they live, their stated preferences and the reasoning they give for those preferences can have a profound impact on the judge’s decision-making.
Can you take the pressure off of your children?
For some people, concern about a child’s input is not about the impact their preference would have on their family but rather the impact that stating the preference would have on the child.
For some children, testifying in court or even speaking one-on-one with a judge in their chambers about their custody preferences will be the hardest part of a divorce. They feel like they have to choose one parent over the other, which can be a traumatizing experience. You and your ex could potentially protect your children from that stress by negotiating your custody arrangements outside of court or possibly going through divorce mediation.
Understanding the rules that apply to custody matters in Texas can help you plan for what will be a difficult process for your entire family.