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Co-parenting a new teen driver

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2023 | Child Custody |

There are some advantages to divorcing when your child is a teen as opposed to being much younger. For one thing, they understand more about divorce and likely know a lot of other kids whose parents are no longer together. 

The teen years, however, include a lot of milestones that you likely have looked forward to (and perhaps dreaded a bit). One of these is getting their driver’s license. 

Coordination and cooperation between co-parents are key

You probably still remember those initial practice drives with your parents and have anticipated doing the same with your child when the time came. Now – assuming you and your co-parent are sharing custody – you’ll need to find a way to amicably coordinate helping your teen become a confident but safe driver.

Even if your teen is getting most of their behind-the-wheel practice at school or with a professional driving instructor, you’ll still need to go out with them to make sure they’re comfortable and eventually skilled enough to do it on their own when they get their license. 

It can help for co-parents to keep a shared log of how many hours you’ve each accompanied their child on practice drives, what kind of roads you’ve been on, the weather conditions and where your child needs more practice. Their driving school or instructor may give you something like that to complete.

It’s important for all parents to have consistent rules for their teen drivers. Many find driving agreements a convenient way to do this. By having one that you all sign, your child can see that their parents are a team in this area.

Determine who will pay for associated expenses

If your child will be driving both of your cars, you’ll both need to add them to your car insurance. If you’re giving them one of your cars or buying them a new (or used) one, you may still need to co-sign their policy. Your insurance agent can provide you with the necessary information.

A new driver means more expenses – gasoline, higher insurance rates, an occasional ticket and possibly even a fender bender. While you may expect your teen to eventually pay for these things, you may have to do so in the short term. 

Consider whether you need to make any changes in your child support agreement and/or perhaps your parenting plan as you navigate this new stage of parenting. Having legal guidance can help.

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