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Adjusting custody agreements as children age into teenagers

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Divorce

As children grow into teenagers, their needs and schedules change significantly. This shift often necessitates adjustments to custody agreements that were originally designed for younger children.

Updating these agreements can help meet the evolving needs of teenagers while ensuring that both parents remain actively involved in their lives.

Recognizing changing needs

Teenagers often have different needs compared to when they were younger. They may have busier schedules due to school activities, sports and social lives. Additionally, their preference for which parent they wish to spend more time with might change. Parents should acknowledge these changes and consider them when discussing custody modifications.

Maintaining open communication

Effective communication between parents is necessary when adjusting custody agreements. Parents need to discuss their teen’s current needs, preferences and schedules to come to a mutual understanding. It is also important for parents to involve their teenagers in these discussions, giving them a voice in decisions that affect their lives. This inclusion can help teens feel respected and understood by both parents.

Adjusting living arrangements

As teenagers grow, they might prefer different living arrangements. For instance, a teen might choose to live primarily with the parent who resides closer to their school or social circle. Parents might need to modify their custody arrangement to accommodate such preferences, which can help reduce stress on the teenager and support their social and academic development.

Revisiting custody schedules

Teenagers’ involvement in extracurricular activities often requires flexible scheduling. Parents might need to adjust their custody schedule to better align with their teen’s activities. Flexibility can include alternating weekends, mid-week visits or extended stays during school breaks. The key is to find a balance that keeps both parents involved without disrupting the teen’s routine.

Legal considerations

When adjusting custody agreements, it is helpful to consult with a family law attorney. Legal advice can ensure that any changes are legally binding and reflect the best interests of the teenager. An attorney can also help mediate discussions if parents find it challenging to reach an agreement on their own.

Adjusting custody agreements as children grow into teenagers is necessary to address their changing needs and schedules. By following these tips, parents can ensure that their revised custody arrangements support their teenager’s development and maintain a balanced family dynamic.