Setting Up Shared Custody Schedules for Teenagers

How do I make a shared custody schedule for my teenager?

You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Make My Parenting Schedule Now

Why are custody schedules for teenagers necessary?

A shared custody schedule for teenagers will help separated parents provide consistency, support and one-on-one time with their teenager, who is working toward independence. When you and the other parent must create a custody schedule for teenagers, strive for a balance of freedom and boundaries.

Teenage children should have a custody schedule that promotes their best interests. Factors that determine a successful custody schedule for teenagers include your availability to parent, your ability to communicate with the other parent, your teen's personality and what your teen is involved in.

As separated parents, work to write up a custody schedule for your teenager that you can all abide by. Custody X Change software can provide you with templates to generate a shared custody schedule for children of all ages. If you can create a fair and balanced schedule that puts your child's needs first, the court will usually approve those that are reasonable.

If there are any aspects of the custody schedule you and the other parent cannot agree on, you can meet with a family counselor, mediator or your lawyer to get professional assistance. Everyone involved should have the same goal--to structure a custody schedule that best meet their children's needs.

How will custody schedules for teenagers differ from younger children?

While all children of divorced parents need a stable and predictable schedule, teenagers have a variety of external activities that require much more flexibility in order to put their needs first. More than younger children, teenagers have a greater capacity for transition, separation from parents and voicing their own opinions.

Some significant parts of a teenager's life that may impact a custody schedule include:

  • Increased school involvement
  • More homework
  • After school classes or hobbies
  • Volunteer work
  • Sports participation
  • Social relationships, such as friends and dating
  • Employment

As teenagers take steps toward independence, supportive parents can create a shared custody schedule that supports the teen's goals and desires while maintaining structure and stability. Age appropriate boundaries must be set and enforced in both households for your teenager to thrive.

Can my teen contribute to our shared custody schedule for teenagers?

You and the other parent are the ultimate decision-makers when it comes to shared custody schedules for your teenager, but it is entirely appropriate for your teen to offer suggestions on the subject.

Here are some areas where your teenager's input may be valuable to a custody schedule:

  • Let your teenager talk with you about his or her schedule, including structured and unstructured time.
  • Gain insight into how your teen sees your schedule and the other parent's schedule. Your teen may be fine alone after school but really want parental presence during homework, for example.
  • See whether your teenager desires a single full-time residence due to the growing complexity of their own activities. Some teens don't mind switching back and forth while others feel the need to settle.
  • Find out what kind of support your teenager would like to have for activities such a sporting events or performances. There may be different expectations than what you or the other parent think.
  • Check whether your teen has a preference to attend a specific school. This may help you and the other parent make a decision about a primary residence for your child.
  • Determine if there are any other factors that might influence your teen's ability to thrive in a custody schedule, such as one parent's proximity to the teen's after school job.

How do I track the success of my custody schedule for teenagers?

Many divorced parents keep a parenting journal with notes about how the custody schedule is working for themselves and their children. This can be a paper journal or an electronic one. One of the important purposes of a parenting journal is to help you figure out what works and what doesn't.

Ultimately, you and the other parent need to create a flexible schedule that meets your teenager's needs. However, this schedule will likely need revision as your teenager's life changes from year to year. As a divorced parent, it's critical that you constantly assess how your teen is coping with the custody schedule.

When you keep a parenting journal, you and the other parent can record the positives and negatives of the current schedule. The notes can help you pinpoint trouble areas and help launch discussions. Custody X Change software provides parents with a simple parenting log that can be compiled into a printable report.

What about holidays in my custody schedule for teenagers?

When your family no longer consists of married parents, the shared custody schedule can make holidays and vacations particularly challenging to negotiate.

Holidays and celebrations provide a time for families to strengthen relationships, solidify bonds and step out of normal routines. Teenagers should be exposed to familiar favorites as well as establishing new ways to celebrate.

Holidays should have priority over a normal parenting schedule. It's important for teenagers to participate in family traditions, religious rituals and community events that give your family's holidays a special meaning.

For teenagers, many holidays become more about spending time with their friends, such a Halloween or New Year's Eve. Your teenager may want to spend part of Christmas break with friends or a significant other. You and the other parent can work out which holidays are most likely to be spent with a third party.

It is critical that you and the other parent have clear communication about the custody schedule to allow your teenager some personal freedom without jeopardizing family time. Custody X Change software allows you and the other parent include vacation time in with your normal custody schedule and upload a color-coordinated calendar to your mobile devices.

What about vacations in my custody schedule for teenagers?

Vacations are important for families to reconnect and create memories, so they should be a prominent part of a shared custody schedule for your teenager.

Because teenagers can handle long periods of time away from either parent, you can look into scheduling trips that last for more than a few days. For example, your shared custody schedule might include two weeks of vacation time with each parent, taken consecutively or not.

Here are 5 tips about vacations in a custody schedule for teenagers:

  1. Make sure you and the other parent agree whether the teenager will miss school
  2. Avoid vacation times that cross over a holiday belonging to the other parent
  3. Schedule plenty of phone calls with the absent parent
  4. Agree on the activities the teen can and cannot do during the vacation, such as extreme sports or late curfews
  5. Plan a day or two of downtime for the teenager to adjust before going back to school

The easiest way to make a shared custody schedule for teenagers

Creating a schedule on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to be sure to use airtight legal language and can't omit any required information.

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation by helping you build a schedule piece by piece.

As a result, you get a written schedule and a visual calendar. They meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

For quick, reliable and affordable help making a custody schedule, turn to Custody X Change.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Make My Parenting Schedule Now

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

Make My Schedule



Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

Birth to 18 months

18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court


Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

Make My Parenting Schedule Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan