Since your child is already preparing for college, you and your spouse haven’t talked about what to do about custody when you divorce. Your teenager is driving and independent, so you know that they don’t necessarily need to you put a custody schedule into place or to set down specific times to go to each home.
Even if that’s the case, it’s not a bad idea to talk to your teen about how the divorce may impact you and them as they finish high school and move on to college. Remember, too, that even though they are relatively independent, they are still your responsibility at least until they’re 18. By law, you are required to care for your child and provide for them until they reach adulthood.
Should you let your high schooler pick their own custody schedule?
That’s something you certainly can do, especially if they are responsible and you feel like the ideas they present to you have merit. For example, if they’d like to live with their father through the week because his home is close to the school, that makes perfect sense. If your child would like to live with their mother through the week because of being close to friends or in a different or better school district, that’s something to consider, too.
Once college arrives, you may still need to have a custody schedule for a while. Some students go to college before they turn 18. They’ll still need to have a schedule stating where they’ll live and a parenting plan that goes over what you or the other parent needs to do for them.
Is it easier to set up custody with an older child?
It can be, but it’s not always. It can be harder to keep an older child at home, and with their own independence, going against what they want can be tough, too. It’s a good idea to be reasonable with your child and to listen to their opinion. Involve them in conversations about custody, so that they don’t feel like their choices are being taken away from them. They’re growing up, so they should have some part in this process.