blog home Child custody Shared custody of older teenagers
Posted by Thomas Huguenor on Mar 2, 2020 in Custody
Young people are a challenge at best. When custody of an older teenager is shared, new problems arise. Older teenagers focus on their individual freedoms, their plans for college, work, and social life. Parents who share custody of an older teenager would be well advised to plan the circumstances around the child’s schedule and be open to plan changes.
Older teenagers tend to be more interested in spending time with friends and socializing than they are at home. Your custody plan should be designed so that your son or daughter has enough time to get involved in the activities they choose instead of expecting them to want to spend their free time with you. As a parent, this can be a little tricky, but your child will appreciate your understanding.
Parents and older teens: Your guidance is still important
Your teenage child is in the transition from childhood to adulthood and is subject to myriad influences – more than ever when you consider how much time they spend on social media. Guidance and support from both parents is critical at this stage. Your child is going to listen to someone and hopefully you will be that person. Rather than criticizing your child’s choices about clothes, music, friends, or other choices that you don’t appreciate or understand, maintain a supportive role in keeping the line of communication between you open so that your child is more willing to asking for your help with his or her problems and concerns.
Education and future
You and the other parent must be open to discussing college, work, school, and leisure plans. Parents who can work together on these issues will have happier children. Do your best to keep your conversations respectful and focus on your child’s future, wellbeing, and success, avoiding arguments or complaints that your child may hear.
What should the custody plan look like?
Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 have very complex schedules. Teenagers whose parents shared custody have a number of options. If the parents do not live far from each other, the child can move away from home in alternating weeks. Be willing to listen if your child would prefer to stay with one parent during the week and with one parent on weekends or alternate weekends.
Don’t take it personally if your child wants a home base to be with the other parent. It will be more beneficial for everyone involved if you try to be understanding and flexible. Although he or she may not say it directly, your child will appreciate your rationality. During the weeks your child is with the other parent, be sure to attend sporting events or other activities to show your support. In the end, your child’s custody plan can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and just a close look at the child’s schedule will tell you how to determine the living circumstances that will best suit your teen.
Holidays are important times for families. If you work out a reasonable schedule, you can spend certain holidays in alternative years together or visit both parents on a single day. The most important aspect of keeping the situation happy and healthy for everyone involved is trying to be pragmatic rather than emotional. It’s not always easy, but your teen is more likely to be more inclined to hang out with you.
If you have any questions about custody of teenagers or younger children, you may need the help of a San Diego custody lawyer. At Huguenor Mattis, APC, our goal is to help parents create a workable custody plan without having to involve the court. When a case needs to be brought to family court, you can be confident that it will be handled with the highest level of legal skills.