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Unfortunately, a child cannot choose which parent that has custody of them in any state in the United States. So in neither Texas or Montana can the child simply pick up and leave and live with another parent without a court order. There are ages where the court begins to take into account the wishes of the child, but this is not the sole test. The court will award custody to whomever the courts feels is in the best interests of the child. The child's wishes are a factor again but not the sole factor.
Again, a court may, but doesn’t have to, consider a child’s preference when making a custody decision. There’s no magic age in Montana at which a child’s preferences will alter a custody decision. Instead, a judge will look at the unique circumstances of each case. A mature child’s parental preference will be weighted in relation to his or her age and ability to reason independently. For instance, in one Montana case a 5 and 8 year-old’s preferences were not considered at all because the judge thought the children were too young. The judge didn’t interview either child because he felt that the children couldn’t express any independent, reasoned preference on custody due to their age. In Montana, a child’s age strongly affects how much weight is given to his or her parental preference. However, in another case the Montana court decided that two girls, ages 11 and 13, were both of a sufficient age to formulate intelligent and reasoned opinions on custody. In this case, the court took the children’s preferences very seriously and followed the girls’ request to be placed in the custody of their father. So to answer your question, she cannot choose to live with her father if she is a minor but as for custody, the courts will take into account a child's preference at any age if the court thinks the child can properly reason and articulate their opinion.
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