What if my child wants to live with me full time?

Parents can expect pre‐teens and teens, at certain ages and levels of maturity, to negotiate with both parents about their living arrangements. One solution is to build into the plan some “wild card” days for the child to expand or contract time inside an otherwise fixed schedule. There are many reasons a child may tell the parent they want to live with the other parent. While some children feel may try to control their living environment, it is best for parents to decide where their children will live. Parents who can agree on a plan before meeting together with the child to discuss it, show that mom and dad are a united front, even when they live in separate households.

Some courts may consider the wishes of children older than 12 when deciding where they should live. Most parents do not want to put the child in the middle by asking the child to choose between mom and dad. The judge does not have to agree with the child and make the change. The child’s preference is one of many things that a judge considers when deciding where a child should live. The judge may appoint a neutral third party to look into the dispute and make a recommendation. Fees for this service are divided between the parties to the case.

If you want to become the primary parent, you must file a motion to modify with the court, asking the judge to make you the primary conservator. You must convince the court that the change is in the child’s best interest, which can sometimes be difficult. Contact an attorney about the changes you want to make to your order or go to TexasLawHelp.org for do-it-yourself information.

Read more general information about modifying a court order here.