Your child is a teenager, so you know that trying to put them on a custody schedule could be tricky. They can already drive, and within just a few short years, they’ll be out on their own.
By law, it’s required for you and your spouse to come up with a custody agreement that kicks in during and following your divorce. In Indiana, the parenting time guidelines generally require parents to set up a schedule that is in their child’s best interests, too. During the teen years, your child may not need much support or supervision, but you still need to set up a schedule to know where they are each day.
Since your child is a teenager, the court is likely to consider their wishes when you come up with a plan. Though their preferences are considered, the court is unlikely to listen only to what they want. The judge also has to consider both parents’ circumstances.
Your teen is old enough to have a preference, so talk to them
Since your child is old enough to understand what’s going on and to have preferences, it’s smart for you and your spouse to sit down together with them to go over what custody schedule you’ve each come up with and to ask what their input may be. For example, you and the other parent may have assumed they’d like to stay in the family home and live close to school, but your teen may actually be interested in moving in with the parent who is leaving the local area and attending a different school. Knowing little things like this could help you consider what would be best for your teen and their feelings about staying where they are or being on a particular schedule.
It can be hard for parents to have a firm schedule when teens are involved, but if you discuss the importance of a custody schedule and why your teen needs to stick to the schedule that you come up with, you should be able to arrange one that is satisfactory to everyone involved and that keeps your child safe.