Shared custody can be a real problem with teens. Your child just reached 16, and they can now drive and take care of themselves in most situations. You have a custody schedule that is supposed to be in place, but they seem to ignore it when they please.
This can be a big issue for parents who share custody, because not knowing where your child is or where they’ll be at night can be scary. This kind of split-household arrangement can be tough on teens, too, because they’re now having to remember to bring more homework with them, to go to different activities from each home on different days and generally have to manage their lives out of two homes.
That’s not always simple, especially when two parents live far apart. Even parents who are in the same school district could be 15 or 20 minutes apart, making it a somewhat significant drive for a teen who is supposed to be headed to practice or doing their homework. One home could be closer after practice, so your teen might want to ignore the custody schedule and get to the closest parent’s home to go to bed. There’s a lot to consider before simply thinking your child is ignoring the rules.
If you’re having trouble with your teen ignoring your custody schedule or struggling to manage their personal belongings in the rush of their school days, it might be time to talk about changing your custody schedule expectations.
You and your ex may want to sit down and talk about a new schedule where your child is in the same home throughout the week. You can set up visitation times more easily now, since your teen can drive themselves. Additionally, you may want to bring your teen into this conversation, because if they get to choose where they are on which days, they’re more likely to comply.
Custody can get rough as your teen gets older, but talk things through. If you need to make changes, your attorney can help you file the paperwork.