If you’re divorcing while you still have an older teenager at home, you might wonder if a custody plan is really necessary. They’re pretty independent as they are now, especially since they obtained a driver’s license, so why hold them back with a schedule when they have the ability to decide where to go or live?
Legally speaking, you’re still your child’s guardian until they turn 18, so it’s necessary to come up with a custody plan. That plan can be something as simple as setting up specific days when they’ll stay the night at their mother or father’s house.
Should you let your teen pick their own custody schedule?
If your child is driving and over 16 years of age, they may have a good idea of what they want to do in terms of custody. While you don’t have to do exactly what they want, it’s worth listening to what they have in mind since they’re more independent than a younger child would be.
They might opt to live with one parent permanently and just visit the other parent, for example, to avoid going back and forth between homes. Alternatively, they may be happy to go with whatever plan you and their other parent decide. Since every child is different, you will need to sit down and talk to yours about what they want and what you think you should do.
It’s most important to make sure your teen has a “home base” during their few years before adulthood. Once that’s settled, other issues with parenting may fall into place, so make sure you start by simply figuring out where your teen should live while they’re still under your care.