Having a child nearing driving age typically comes with mixed emotions for all parents. Worry is likely uppermost among those, but there may also be some relief that this will mean less chauffeuring (or paying for Uber rides) for you.
For divorced parents, there are some added complications. However, with some planning and communication, you should be able to weather those and help your teen become a safe, responsible driver.
Add them to your insurance
First, before your child gets behind the wheel to practice with either of you, you’ll need to make sure that your insurance has them covered. If you share custody and they’ll be driving cars owned by both of you, you’ll both need to add them to your car insurance policies. It’s best to check with your insurance agent(s) to find out how to handle your individual situation. You may need to revise your child support order as well.
Determine how you’re going to divide any practice time between the two of you in addition to their driving practice with an instructor. It’s best if you can both be informed and involved with how your child is doing in driver’s ed and in what areas they need extra practice.
Consistent rules are key
As with all things, it’s advisable for both parents to have similar rules and expectations for their teen once they get their driver’s license. The state of Texas sets some of those through its graduated license program. You may also want to set additional rules like asking permission to use the car, telling you where they’re going and who can (and can’t) be in the car with them.
There are all sorts of apps that let parents monitor their children’s driving. You can also find numerous parent-teen driving contracts online that can help you provide a good agreed-upon set of rules.
Even if you and your co-parent have regular disagreements over rules and discipline, this is not an area where you want to vie to be the “cool” parent. Safety has to come first. It may even be worthwhile to add some provisions to your parenting plan around driving to help you stay on the same page and keep your child (and others on the road) safe.