Most parents approach the beginning of their teen’s driving years with a mix of dread and excitement. Separated or divorced parents may lean a little more toward dread – and perhaps sadness that they won’t have as much input in their child’s training as they’d always anticipated.
This is one of those times when you and your co-parent will need to cooperate and communicate (at least in some way) if you share custody and will both be helping your child get plenty of “behind-the-wheel” practice.
Working together and providing consistent rules
That means jointly keeping a log of how many hours each of you has spent in the passenger seat with them, what kind of roads, weather and other driving situations they’ve experienced and where they need to improve.
Once your teen has their intermediate license and can drive without an adult in the car, it’s best for you and your co-parent to have consistent rules about driving and when they can use your car. There are parent-teen driving agreements you can download.
Updating your insurance policies
If your teen will be driving your cars, you’ll need to add their name to your auto insurance policies. If you’re giving your child their own car (or they’re buying one), they’ll probably need their own policy. Talk to your insurance agent to find out what’s required given your particular situation. (You may also need to discuss this with your attorney if it’s unclear whether you or your co-parent are responsible for this bill.)
This is going to be a stressful time for you and your co-parent. It can bring out the worst in even the most happily married couples – let alone those who have gone their separate ways. Just don’t let your conflicts dampen your teen’s excitement over this new level of independence – or, more importantly, interfere with their ability to learn the skills they need to drive safely.