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Teenagers, custody and cars: What to consider

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You're getting divorced, and you do have a lot of issues you need to work out where your child is concerned.

One big issue that many divorcing parents overlook is how they plan to handle the situation when their child is old enough to drive. Whether your child is a teenager who is fast approaching the test for their learner's permit or is still years away from that step, this is something you should talk about with your co-parent today.

Who pays for a teen's car insurance when the parents are divorced?

The answer to this question often comes down to where your child lives most of the time and whose car they may be using. If you share custody with your co-parent fairly equally, you may both need to add your child to your car insurance policies. In that situation, you may each need to pay the additional amount in insurance premiums.

If your teen lives with just one parent most of the time, that parent may be the only one who needs to add the teen to their insurance. In that situation, you may want an agreement that requires you to split the cost of the insurance.

Your teen may need to take a driver's education course before they're ready to hit the road – and those aren't cheap. You may want to address this extra expense and come to an advance agreement about whether the bill will be split.

What other rules about driving need to be discussed?

It helps to have both co-parents on the same page when there's a big issue, like driving, involved. You may need to hammer out an agreement with your co-parent about when your teen will be allowed to get a license, whether they have to buy their own car or not, who will be responsible for maintenance or repairs and other issues that go along with driving.

While it may seem like this isn't a big deal today, this can be a contentious issue that can lead to lots of arguments down the road. A little foresight can make things a little less stressful when your child starts to drive.

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