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Our teen wants to drive! How do my ex and I deal with this?

It seems like it was only yesterday that your child was racing toy cars across the kitchen floor, but now you're co-parenting a teenager who is asking for the keys. This is a difficult issue for any parent, especially if you're parenting your child in two separate households. Ultimately, the most important outcome is a smart, safe and prepared teen driver. Here's how both parents can help:

1. Set Consistent Rules

Most Florida parenting plans contain language that describes how parents should harmonize the rules and parenting styles between them. When deciding on driving regulations for your child, this principle still applies.

Long before your teen obtains their license, have a constructive conversation with your ex about your wishes and expectations for your teen driver. The more consistent the rules are between the two of you, the more likely your teen is to follow them.

2. Make Decisions in Advance

Determine how the expenses for your teen driver will be paid. Will his insurance be paid from child support? Will you both contribute to the cost of the car? Do you expect your teen to buy his own gasoline, or are you willing to provide an allowance for it? Answering these questions before your teen earns their license will help everyone be better prepared and avoid conflict.

3. Model Good Habits

Your teen spends more time in the car with his parents than anyone else. When both parents model good driving behavior, their teen will mimic that when they get behind the wheel. Some important reminders to give your teen driver:

  • No cell phone use while driving – whether hands-free or hand-held—including at stoplights

  • Follow all driving laws, including no speeding

  • Always wear a seat belt, as a driver and as a passenger

  • Do not drive while impaired (drugged, drunk, or drowsy) or ride as a passenger with an impaired driver

  • Do not ride with an unlicensed or inexperienced teen driver.

The Bulger Firm is committed to helping families navigate conflict at every stage. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, you may find yourself facing an unexpected dilemma or auto accident. To speak with an experienced attorney who can help, call 904-608-3694.

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