Child custody is typically one of the most contentious issues in any divorce. Every state has its own laws about who sees the child the most. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the court to do whatever is in the best interest of the child.
There are numerous factors a judge will consider when determining child custody. In some cases, the child may get the opportunity to take the stand and state which parent he or she would like to live with most of the time. This is not the only factor considered, but it can play a significant role in the final decision.
Texas recently passed a law that affects how judges need to consider children’s testimony. Under the new law, kids under the age of 12 do not have to testify, but they can if they want. It is up to the judge to decide whether to meet with the child. When the child is at least 12 years of age, then the judge has to meet with the child.
Ultimately, this meeting is simply another piece of evidence brought to the table. A child may say he or she wants to live with the mother 100 percent of the time. In the event the father was abusive or has drug problems, then the judge may grant this because it is better for the child to remain in the more stable household.
However, in the event there is no valid reason for one parent to get sole custody, then the judge simply takes the child’s words into consideration. If both parents are stable and can provide the child with a good home to grow up in, then more than likely, joint custody will be the final result. Over time, as the situation changes, the parents can go back to court to modify the child custody arrangement, and the judge will consider these new factors.