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Custody of 13 year old girl?

Location: Houston, TX – Harris County


Parents divorced when child was 6. Mutually agreed that father would keep daughter at that time. Father lives approx. 40 miles away from mother. No evidence of any sort of abuse or neglect present in either home. Both parents are able to provide for the child. Child is 13 now and has started asking to live with mom for the past 2.5 years. Dad’s reply is simply “no, not an option” and when pointed out that in the state of Texas at her age the child has the right to choose where she wants to live, he answers that that law does not apply to him. Daughter now is starting to become depressed and according to her – cries herself to sleep at night because she misses her mom and siblings that she has in her mom’s house.

My questions are as follows – please no opinions…I am looking to hear about the outcome of similar cases in Harris County or from someone with a family law background:

What are the chances of being awarded custody simply for the reason of the child wanting to live with her mom?

What needs to be done, legally, to start the process?

Would courts generally favor the mother when a girl is involved?

Is there actually a law allowing a child over a certain age to decide where she wants to live?

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes go to family court and request joint custody a judge will request to speak with the daughter to find out whats going on in her life and why she want to live with mom. Yes contrary to other people who have responded to you a judge can grant partial or full custody. The child is old enough to express wanting to live with her mother, she is at a age that needs more of a mother support more then the father. Dont get me wrong she still needs her father but mom needs to be more in the picture. Do not let your ex husband make this decision there is a option and go for it in court.

    Source(s): beliz62
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  • 1 decade ago

    That is not how it works...there is an age where a child's opinions may or may not be considered - it depends on the judge & how he or she feels about a child's voice. However, a child can not just choose and expect it to be automatically granted.

    A lot gets taken into consideration as to the reasons why the child is asking, if the child is interviewed and it comes to be that the child just feels the custodial parent is too strict - then there is not going to be a change granted. If there are serious problems, then it will be considered.

    There is a huge misconception that a child can just walk in and say "I want to live with...." and automatically, just because they are a certain age - it will happen. It is categorically - untrue. The ONLY way that happens, is if both parents agree to the change - if one objects (usually the current custodial parent) both parents have to testify - and THEIR testimony is considered over the child's...

    Until a child is 18 years old, they are a minor, the court does not recognize a minor being able to know what is best for them. The older they get, the more they will be able to express their feelings in a manner that is proper for the court, but that in no way gives them an "edge" to getting what they want.

    The parents, at the time of the divorce, made it clear by signing papers that they chose for her tolive with her father because it was in the best interest of everyone involved. Every kid goes through the I can't stand my mom/dad phase - it doens't change the fact that where they live, is still the best place for them.

    So to answer your questions - don't bother with court, it isn't going to happen - what the child wants isn't a factor if that is all it is.

    No, the courts do not favor mothers for girls

    And finally, no, there is no law giving children the right to choose in Texas.

    Source(s): I'm a GAL/family law attorney
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  • 1 decade ago

    Mom needs to get a family law attorney to gain custody of daughter. Daughter will be assigned a "guardian adlitem" attorney who is looking out only for her best interests. The judge in the case will probably question the girl. At 13 she may have the right in Texas to live with whomever she wants.

    Source(s): My daughter went thru this in WI when my 2nd husband legally adopted her.
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  • 1 decade ago

    It is not up to the 13yr old to file such motions. The mother must file for legal custody (joint or sole) with said minor child residing with her. During the custody hearing the child's opinion will be taken into account but not the sole deciding factor.

    The father is correct in that if he has legal custody of the said minor child, by mutual agreement in this case he is under no obligation to allow for daughter to now live with mother.

    Custody will not be granted on grounds of the said minor child wanting to live with mother. There must be grounds for neglect or another mutual agreement between parents.

    There is no law in the US that allows a minor child to decided where he/she wishes to live.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Ido know that in some states and at at some point a judge WILL allow a child to chose what parent they want to live with.

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  • there is no law...a child's imput is listened to at her age, but, not decided upon if there are circumstances stating that she should not live w/ the mother. The law only applies if the environment is good, but, does not apply if the mother or parent they desire to live with is unfit or unstable...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Don't worry Cindy. The child will grow up resenting the father for what he is doing. Divorce always hurts the kids. The father is selfish and need a good butt kicking.

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  • 4 years ago

    if what you are saying is true then i feel so sorry for you. stay with your grandparents and if they try and make you go back tell them you will call social services on them for the way they treat you. if my father let some woman talk to me like that i would never speak to him again. they should not be taking care of children.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i think it is 12 when she can legally decide. the mom should step up, and be a mom. get an attorney, and fight for whats right.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i just want to say , dont give up , good luck .. this will be a long and difficult road .. been there done this

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