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Shared Custody Involving Older Teenagers

Posted by Thomas Huguenor on March 2, 2020 in Child Custody

Teenagers are challenging to deal with at the best of times. When child custody of an older teenager is shared, new issues arise. Older teenagers focus on their individual freedoms, their plans for college, work, and social lives. Parents who share custody of an older teenager are well-served to plan living arrangements around the child’s schedule and to be open to changes in plans.

Older teenagers are typically more interested in spending their time with friends and on social activities than spending time at home. Your custody plan should be built to provide plenty of time for your son or daughter to engage in their chosen activities, rather than an expectation that they will want to spend their free time with you. As a parent, this can be a little difficult, but your child will appreciate your understanding.

Parents and Older Teenagers: Your Guidance Still Matters

Your teenage child is in the transition point between childhood and adulthood, and subject to countless influences – more than ever before, when you consider how much time they spend on social media. The guidance and support of both parents is crucial during this phase. Your child will listen to someone, and hopefully, that person will be you. Rather than criticizing your child’s choices in clothing, music, friends,  or other decisions you don’t appreciate or understand, maintain a supportive role to keep the line of communication between you open, so your child will be more willing to ask for your help with his or her problems and concerns.

Education and the Future

You and the other parent must be open to discussions about college, work, school, and recreational plans. Parents who can work together on these issues have happier children. Do your best to keep your conversations respectful and focused on your child’s future, well-being, and success, and avoid arguments or complaints your child can hear.

What Should the Custody Schedule Look Like?

Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 have very complex schedules. Teenagers whose parents have shared custody have a range of options. If the parents are not living far apart, the child can move from home to home in alternate weeks. Be prepared to listen if your child would prefer to stay with one parent during the week, and the other on weekends or alternating weekends.

Don’t take it personally if your child wants a home base to be with the other parent. It is more beneficial for everyone involved if you try to be understanding and flexible; although he or she may not directly say it, your child will appreciate your rationality. During the weeks when your child is with the other parent, make it a point to attend sporting events or other activities to show your support. In the end, your child’s custody schedule can come in various shapes and sizes, and only a thorough look at the child’s schedule will reveal how to arrange the living arrangements that will work best for your teen.

Holiday Schedules

The holidays are important times for families and working out a reasonable schedule may involve spending certain holidays together on alternative years or visiting both parents in a single day. The most important aspect of keeping the situation happy and sane for everyone involved is to try to be pragmatic, rather than emotional. It is not always easy, but your teenager will be more inclined to spend time with you.

If you have questions about child custody, whether for teenagers or younger children, you may need the help of a child custody lawyer in San Diego. At Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., our goal is to help parents arrange a workable custody plan without the need to involve the court. When taking a case to family court is necessary, you can trust that it will be managed with top-level legal skills.

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