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What co-parents need to consider when their child starts driving

When you and your spouse divorced and worked out your child custody and support agreements, the day when your child would get their driver's license may have seemed too far down the road to think about. Now it's almost here, and you need to consider how you will handle this new level of responsibility and freedom.

One of the first things you need to do is add your child to one or both of your car insurance policies. If they're going to be driving cars belonging to each of you, you'll probably need to include them on both of your policies. If your child has their own car, you may be able to cover them on just one policy. Check with your insurance agent to find out what you need to do for your particular situation and what discounts you may qualify for -- such as a good student discount.

Just as it's wise to have similar rules and expectations for children across both households, it's best when co-parents set consistent rules when it comes to driving. You'll want to set clear rules for your child regarding things like:

  • Asking permission to use the car
  • Telling you where they're going
  • Not being out past a certain time
  • Having their phone put away
  • Who can be in the car with them

Many parents draw up a parent-teen driving contract. Sample forms are available from a number of sources,

Reaching driving age is a big milestone in a child's life -- and in their parents' lives. This is probably a good time to look at your parenting plan to see if it's time for some updates. You may want to include expectations about driving and having access to your vehicles.

You may need to update your support agreement to cover added car insurance costs, the cost of a new vehicle and the cost of driver's training. Your attorney can provide important guidance with this.

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Weinman & Associates, P.C.
8200 North MoPac Expressway
Suite 230
Austin, TX 78759

Phone: 512-472-4040
Fax: 512-472-4086
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