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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 28042
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I am in the process of getting a divorce. Part of our

Customer Question

I am in the process of getting a divorce. Part of our divorce agreement is to create a co-parenting plan. We have a 5 year old son and he will be staying with me during the school year- his dad will visit him on breaks and have him for the summer months. We have agreed that at 6th grade prior to 7th grade we should allow our son to express an opinion about where he wants to live the idea would be to give my husband an opportunity to have him most of the year.. It is not likely we will ever be in a 50/50 scenario and living in the same place. My question -- is there standard or suggested language that we can put in our coparenting plan that would allow for our son to express an opinion but also deem the final decision on if a move at the end of 6th grade is needed... Also- is there language that would address - that perhaps a move wouldnt be prudent -- example lets say my son has a good foundation, school, friends, activities and doesnt want to move with his dad.. Looking for suggestions on how to address this situation and allow our son to be able to express and opinion and for us to do what is best..
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hi,

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.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks I appreciate that... If my son decided to stay with me versus moving its that something that has to be addressed in a court- or simply by having that language in the coparenting agreement does that cover that circumstance? The idea would be to in good faith give my husband an opportunity to parent our son most of the year like i'm doing - except he would have that opportunity after 6th grade -- however, if circumstances change-- which could be that my son loves where he is and doesnt want to move, one of us gets remarried, etc... we want the option to allow our son to stay with me, and not be "forced" to move at 6th grade-- is this a common scenario?? And if the parents dont agree- Ie one parent thinks our son is doing well where he is- and doesnt want them to move-- and the other wants to insist on a move- how could /should that be handled? Mediation? just looking for options of what to put in there in case there is an issue :)
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

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.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Did you have any questions about this?

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