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Parenting Plan for a Teenage Child

In basic terms, a parenting plan in New Jersey is an agreement reached between the parents, or ordered by the court if an agreement cannot be reached, that sets forth the custodial and parenting time arrangement in a divorce case. The plan addresses such fundamental issues as residential or physical custody, legal custody, and parenting time. A variety of key considerations come into play in the development of a plan, including the age of the child. There are some important factors to bear in mind when crafting a plan that involves a teenage child.

Clear Schedules

In developing a comprehensive plan for a teenage child, setting forth clear schedules is crucial. Scheduling needs to include everything from setting out the timeframe for the basic custody arrangement to addressing such things as extracurricular activities. The need to have clear, up-to-date schedules included in a plan demands that the parenting blueprint be revisited with regularity.

Consideration of Child’s Desires

Because of a child’s age by the time he or she becomes a teenager, that young person is in a position to have his or her desires considered when it comes to crafting a plan for parenting in a divorce or post-divorce matter. In New Jersey, after reaching the age of 12, a court can consider a child’s preferences and desires when it comes to custody and parenting time. Thus, when parents are attempting to develop a custody and parenting time plan, garnering input from a teenager makes sense.

Specific Parental Responsibilities

A plan should delineate specific parental responsibilities regarding a wide range is issues addresses in such a plan. This includes everything from responsibilities associated with custody and parenting time more generally to those associated with such things as extracurricular activities.

Delineation of Transportation Responsibilities

When it comes to delineating specific parental responsibilities, a sharp focus needs to be on those related to transportation. The reality is that a tremendous amount of conflict arises in regard to transportation matters in divorce and post-divorce settings. Set forth specifically which parent will be responsible for transport in given situations. In addition, a plan can establish situations in which a child can attend to his or her own transportation (depending on the child’s age).

Communication Guidelines

A plan should establish communication guidelines. The reality is that co-parenting is most effective and best serves the best interests of a child when parents maintain open and civil lines of communication. One suggestion is for parents to schedule a specific time each week for a more comprehensive connection to discuss issues regarding a child. For example, parents might schedule a Zoom call to address issues surrounding their child or children.

Financial Responsibilities of Parents

An effective comprehensive custody and parenting time pan includes a delineation of financial responsibilities beyond the basics associated with a monthly child support obligation. For example, an effective plan sets forth which parent will be responsible to pay for specific extracurricular or recreational activities involving the child. Ideally, the plan is a specific as reasonably possible to eliminate the prospect for arguments and disputes associated with money and financial responsibilities for certain child-related matters beyond basic support going forward into the future.

Outline on Dealing With Agreements

The plan should also set out a process for which parents address and work towards an agreement on other matters associated with a child that will come up from time to time. For example, as a teenager grows older, he or she will have different needs and interests that can impact an existing custody and parenting time plan.

Timeframe for Reviewing Parenting Plan for a Teen

As noted, circumstances change over time. Therefore, an effective plan contains a timeframe for regular review of an existing plan. Establishing a specific timeframe for an annual review of an existing custody and parenting time plan seems to make the most sense for parents in divorce and post-divorce cases. It also seems to support the best interests of a teenager.

If you need assistance in regard to a parenting plan or any other divorce-related issue, the legal team at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen can provide you the guidance and representation you need. You can reach our firm by calling us at 201-845-7400.

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