When you’re divorcing and have teenage children, you may be aware that they have plenty of opinions on what they’d like to have happen next. Depending on how old your children are, they may already be driving or might be close to leaving the nest, so it does make sense to bring them into discussions about custody.
By law, minors don’t actually have a right to choose where they want to live following a divorce, even if they are driving or close to high school graduation. Until they’re 18, they have no real control over what happens. That being said, the court will listen to your children’s wishes, so it’s a good idea to sit down with them and to talk about what they’d like to do.
When teens are driving, custody can be challenging
Since teens who can drive have more freedoms than other minors, it’s worth discussing your teen’s responsibilities with them. Talk to them about a schedule that you and your ex-spouse would like them to stay on. For example, if you’ll be home through the week and your ex-spouse will be available on the weekends, you may both state that you’d like your child to stay with you during the week and then visit the other parent on weekends or in their free time.
There can be more flexibility with a teen’s custody schedule at this age, but your teen should still know where they’re meant to go and how to communicate with both parents if they would like to stay somewhere that is different than the usual custody schedule allows for.
Teens should get to express their wishes
Teenagers who feel uncomfortable living with one parent or the other may make this known as you work on a schedule, too. If this comes up, talk to your teen about their preferences and then take their preferences to the negotiating table or courtroom. They deserve to have someone who is there to help make sure that they have their wishes known and that they can feel comfortable living in whichever home that they will be staying in.