Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
You're allowed to put in the agreement that your son shall be allowed to state an opinion on where to live, and that deciding whether to make a change will be based on several factors, including but not limited to... his opinion, whether a change of schools is required, the number and type of activities he's involved in, etc. Pretty much whatever you and the other parent can agree to will be allowed. "Including but not limited to" language is used frequently because it means if things change and there's some other factor affecting your decision that you didn't think to include, it can still be considered. If your son's opinion is listed as just one of those factors, then it's clear that the parents won't be required to make a switch based solely on what your son decides.
As long as the agreement is written so a change may be permitted if your son requests ones, there's no need to go back to court if he decides to stay with you. If it said something like "Custody will be re-evaluated when the Son finishes 6th grade," then you'd have to go back to court either way. You'd also be allowed to include other scenarios that would trigger a modification, but you should know that with something like a remarriage, either parent can usually request the change.
There are two options for when the parents can't agree. One is to write something into the agreement that will act as a tie-breaker (whatever you both think is fair). A mediation clause is a pretty common way of doing that. The other option is to go back to court at the time if you can't work it out.
Did you have any questions about this?