In Texas, the answer to when a minor child can decide which parent they want to live with (or even visit their other parent) is 18!
18 YEARS OLD!!!!!
I get this question via http://www.avvo.com/ and http://www.lawguru.com/ on a daily basis!
I don't know who or where people get the idea that kids get to make a decision about who they get to live with or when they get decide if they get to visit their non-custodial parents.
There USED TO BE a document that the kid could sign that stated who they wanted to live with but it was NEVER binding on the judge. The judge ALWAYS had the final say on what the minor child had to do -- up to the age of 18!!
THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE HAS GOTTEN RID OF THIS DOCUMENT.
IT NO LONGER EXISTS.
Now the Juge must interview the child in the Judge's chamber -- alone!! That means -- one on one -- to determine what the child wants to do. Many judges don't like this. Many judges just don't have the time to interview every child involved in litigation! It is just impossible for the judge to interview each child involved in litigation!
Why? Since kids attend school and the courts normally close around 5pm. That gives judges from approximately 4-5 pm (one hour) to interview all the minor children. That technically means children from age 0-18. Most judges are not trained to interview small children. Most small children cannot adequate communicate and many cannot tell fiction from reality.
Most judges are not going to have children removed from school to interview them. In large cities, like Houston and Dallas, if a child is removed from school they are going to miss a full day or 1/2 day of school. Many judges don't want to be responsible for a kid missing that much school!