Parenting after divorce can be a challenge for parents. We all know that divorce is never a pleasant experience, but it’s especially harrowing when children are involved. And if one or more are teens or perhaps even out of control teenagers, the difficulties can rise dramatically if not handled appropriately.
Parenting teenagers is already a tough task, but parenting after divorce has its own set of challenges with teens. If you retain custody of your children, your parenting after divorce will be quite different and many changes will need to be made. You have to consider everything from basic upbringing to schooling.
Parenting After Divorce Needs the Involvement of Both Parents
Divorce for kids in the teenage years is especially tough as teens have their own set of turmoil to deal with. And adding in the difficulties of their parents can be more than they can bear.
Therefore, parenting after divorce is better handled with both parents having as much contact as possible with the kids, barring serious circumstances that disallow visits by one parent. The party that doesn’t have custody still has certain rights and responsibilities. For example, parents with visitation are allowed to spend time with their children on evenings, weekends, and holidays. However, with teens it’s better if they are allowed as much access to the non-custodial parent as they want.
Joint Custody or Not?
Not all non-custodial parents have joint custody rights. Court orders must be followed or else the court can revoke or modify access. The court can also revoke or modify access should the parent exhibit behavior that is harmful to the kids. The more parents can find ways to agree on these things and not involve their teens the better. Don’t ask them to choose sides or make decisions they aren’t ready to make.
Joint custody is always a possibility. Although divorce ultimately separates the parents, they may agree to share the parenting responsibilities equally. Joint custody means that both parents share the major decision-making when it comes to their kids. With a joint custody arrangement, the children might live with both parents equally, or they might spend the majority of the time with one parent.
Parenting After Divorce – Mediation as an Alternative
Even in divorce, some parents choose not to go to court regarding custody. It’s an extremely stressful situation, both for the parents and the children. And it can also be quite expensive. If you work this out on your own, take the wishes of your teenagers into account. However, don’t pressure them for answers.
Other alternatives are available for determining parenting arrangements. A family mediator, for example, is trained to resolve parenting custody disputes. The mediator works with both parties to arrange the most amenable solution for everyone involved, including parents and children.
Mediators may even have a session or two with any teens in order to get a sense of what would be best for them. Parenting after divorce can be difficult but there are things you can do to decrease the stress for yourself, young kids and teens.