Teenagers face challenges unique to their age group when their parents decide to divorce – and so do the parents of these rapidly-growing young people. Creating a custody arrangement that meets a teen’s needs and best interests also poses unique challenges.
Unlike custody arrangements for younger children, which typically focus on the parents’ schedules, a custody arrangement involving teenagers often has to account for a teen’s increasing school and extracurricular responsibilities, a part-time job, and activities like sports, clubs, and college prep classes.
When building custody and visitation schedules involving a teen, keep these three items in mind:
- Be willing to involve your teen in the process.
While your teenager won’t have the final say in the custody or visitation agreement, asking for their input can provide valuable information and guidance. What activities are most important to your child? What arrangement would make it easiest for them to keep participating in these events? Your teenager’s input may open up new avenues you hadn’t considered in creating or revising a custody plan.
- Keep communicating with your teenager’s other parent.
Because many adolescents are very busy and their schedules change with the school calendar and sports seasons, building a strong line of communication with your teen’s other parent can help you accommodate your child’s needs. Set firm boundaries if needed, but keep communicating on behalf of your child.
- Make sure both parents stay involved in the teenager’s life.
Despite their growing “push” for independence, teens need the security, support, and guidance they get from their relationships with their parents. Make sure the parenting plan keeps both parents involved as much as possible and provides “down time” for the teen to spend with family.
At the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC, our experienced Long Island child custody attorneys know that the needs of every family are different. That’s why we devote personal attention and years of experience to helping our clients create custody agreements that work for them and their children. Contact us today to learn more.