Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.
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Mistakes for divorced parents of teens to avoid

Divorced parents in Arizona who may have co-parented successfully for years might face new challenges as their children become teens. Parents may make the mistake of taking a more hands-off approach to their child and one another under the assumption that the teen is mature and responsible. While this is sometimes true, teens still need monitoring and guidance.

Parents should not assume that their teenager will share necessary information if they do not or even that the teen behaves the same way with each of them. Furthermore, a teen who is entrusted with keeping divorced parents informed is granted a lot of power by default. The ability to drive can give teens a greater sense of autonomy, but parents still need to make an effort to get to know the teen's friends and coordinate with the other parent about where the teen is.

Teens still need consistency, and firm guidance is particularly important if one parent's home life is unstable. However, this is also a good time for parents to be more flexible about the parenting schedule. Teens may be juggling far more activities and responsibilities than ever before, and the schedule that has worked up to that point might no longer suit them.

In some cases, parents may want to consider returning to court to request a modification of the child custody schedule. For example, the teen may express a desire to start living with the other parent. In most cases, teens should not be allowed to forgo spending time with either parent, and parents should be wary about letting the teen dictate living arrangements. However, considering the child's wishes, especially that of older children, is often one component of custody decisions. A modification may also be necessary if a parent moves or has another major life change.

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