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Teen Driving and Co-Parenting

Tips for navigating teen driving with your co-parent.

When your child enters their teenage years, there is suddenly a whole new list of topics you need to discuss with your co-parent. Perhaps one of the most important safety aspects is driving. You and your co-parent should take time to get to know teen driving rules, and then set your own standards and regulations together.  

Parents with joint custody may both need to insure their child separately 

If your teen is a member of two homes, you and your co-parent need to discuss policy rules with your auto insurance companies. If your child has regular access to cars at both households, they will likely need to be listed on both policies.  
If one parent plans to provide insurance, this may prevent your child from driving the other parent’s car. However, this is not always the case, so it’s important for you and your co-parent to speak with both insurance companies directly.  

Once insurance is sorted out, co-parents should discuss and set guidelines 

Costs. There are other costs associated with teen driving aside from insurance. You and your co-parent should discuss potential expenses like driver’s ed classes, gas, car maintenance, and traffic tickets. Planning for shared costs ahead of time can help co-parents avoid conflict down the road. If you and your co-parent need help managing shared driving expenses for your teen, try TalkingParents’ Accountable Payments feature.  
Rules. Where is your teen allowed to drive? What hours is your teen allowed on the road? How many passengers are allowed in the car when your teen is driving? These are all important questions to discuss with your co-parent. Each state has its own rules and regulations, but it’s beneficial for parents to set their own boundaries as well. Additionally, co-parents need to implement consistent guidelines between households.  
Expectations. You and your co-parent should discuss and agree upon any expectations that your teen needs to meet in order to drive. Does your child need to get a job, make certain grades, or complete assigned housework to get behind the wheel? Again, consistency is key. Co-parents need to set the same standards.  

Driving is a rite of passage for many teens, but it can also be scary 

You and your co-parent should take time to discuss driving with your teen to see how they are feeling about it. It’s important for both parents to be on the same page with their child to address any questions or concerns.  
Teen driving may also come with some schedule changes for co-parents. Discussing this with your teen before they start driving can help co-parents prepare for shifts in transportation needs and schedules. 

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