Deciding on a custody schedule for your teen is not always simple. On one hand, the court is going to talk to the teen to hear what they want, and you will still need to have a schedule of some kind. On the other, you want to make sure they have the freedom and independence they need approaching adulthood.
The kind of custody arrangement you set up for an older teen is going to vary from one that you have for a young teen. Someone who is 14 or 15 still needs their parents to be present and to support them regularly compared to someone who is 17 and nearly an adult.
How can you make a custody schedule when your teen drives?
For teens who are already driving independently, your custody schedule might need to be flexible. If they already have a job, go to school and drive, you may want to consider having a schedule that allows your child to return to the home closest to the school or their work during the week. If their activities change regularly, you might suggest a schedule that lets them choose where to go so long as both parents are contacted in advance that day.
Should you ask your teen about their custody preferences?
Asking your teen about their custody preferences isn’t a bad idea, because they may have something in mind that you haven’t thought about yet. They know their schedules and what kinds of extracurricular activities they may want to participate in. They may also have a preference for where they’d like to live based on factors you didn’t think about, like where their friends live or which family they’d feel more comfortable with.
Generally speaking, your teen cannot make the final decision about where they’re going to live, but they should get to speak their minds to let you know what they want. If you can’t do what they want, it may help to have a conversation to go over why you can’t have that particular arrangement in place. Doing so may help them adjust to the custody plan your do use more easily.