When you go through a divorce, you end your romantic relationship, but you’ll still have a parenting relationship if you share children. When there’s a teen in the picture, you have to think carefully about how the co-parenting relationship is going to work.
There are several issues that are specific to having teenage children. Understanding these and trying to work things out before urgent situations come up may help you to keep stress at bay during this period. Consider these:
- Employment issues: Some teens want to have a job. Discuss this with your ex to ensure that there is support for the job since it is likely going to take time away from both parents.
- Driving and insurance: Teens look forward to getting a driver’s license. The terms for this and related factors like insurance coverage are important.
- Tattoos and piercings: Some parents don’t mind teens having tattoos and piercing, but others have a big problem with it.
- Haircuts and grooming: It’s possible that some parents might feel strongly about things like haircuts, makeup and other grooming options.
- Electronics: Teens should be responsible enough to have electronics, but they shouldn’t really be subjected to having to leave things like cellphones with one parent when they’re spending time with the other parent.
- Chores and responsibilities: It’s often easier for parents to have a consistent set of rules about chores and other responsibilities that are the same between homes. Being able to discuss the similarities and differences from one house to the other might be beneficial for the teen.
Other issues, such as sexuality and substance abuse might also come up. These often have a moral basis for the parents. Working with your ex to determine how to handle all these matters in advance can help you to develop a plan that will help you get through the teenage years a bit easier. It often helps to work with an experienced advocate while you hammer out an agreement.