There are times when there is a change is a situation or the children reach a certain age when it is appropriate to re-visit the joint custody schedule.

In other words, the schedule you may start out with may not be in the children’s best interest when they reach a certain age. You might start hearing things from your children about the current schedule they are on. It is not only appropriate, but loving, to seek another consultation at this time. Changing joint custody schedules due to age is common and let’s children feel as if they have a say in how they live. This does not mean do as they say. This means consult with a professional either by yourself or hopefully with the other parent.

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Many children when they reach the age of 15 or 16 do not like to change houses anymore. It is important not to take this as a rejection of they want more time at one house. Often parents force the joint custody schedule and create rifts with their children for years. Teenagers are difficult to begin with. They are struggling to be independent and often battle their parents for control over anything and everything. This is one area to not battle in.

Try to work with them (it probably will be only one child). If they insist on wanting one home base and that is all that is going on (they are not angry and wanting to punish one of you, or one household is much more permissive than the other one), work with them. Let the parent whose house they are not sleeping at as often, have more dinner times. It will pay off for everyone.

Finally, in closing, please remember that joint custody means shared custody. You are sharing raising your children together, even though you have decided to divorce. Think everything you do through, use professionals for advice (even if the court doesn’t order it), do not take your anger at your ex-partner out through custody and visitation issues, and remember that everything you both do must be IN THE NAME OF THE CHILD.


About Alice R. Berkowitz

Dr. Alice R. Berkowitz has been in practice as a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist since 1986. Her psychotherapy practice is currently located in Beverly Hills, California, after over 28 years at the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Office Towers in Los Angeles, California.

Serving a wide variety of clientele, Berkowitz sees many high profile personalities in the Los Angeles area, is certified as an addiction specialist and travels doing consultations all over the country. Berkowitz is also trained as a neuropsychologist, and is well versed in the effects of addiction on the different areas of the brain.

In addition to her work as a clinical psychologist, Berkowitz has also worked as a Child Custody Evaluator, Expert Witness, Mediator and Reunification Therapist in Family Court since 1986. Her areas of expertise are in the area of parental alienation, parenting plans, parenting training and coaching, dealing with high-conflict families, divorce coaching, conjoint therapy, domestic violence, substance abuse, reunification therapy, PTSD, parent-child relationships, child sexual abuse and allegations of alleged sexual abuse.