Growing Pains That Cannot Be Ignored: Automatic Reevaluation of Custody Arrangements at Child's Adolescence (Family Law Quarterly Vol. 44, No. 3, Fall 2010)
Jacqueline Genesio Lux
The author looks at the problem of custody arrangements that are crafted when children are very young and are not automatically changed or revisited as children grow. Studies show that young teens generally want to change their custody arrangement as they grow, but have no formal recourse to do so. She examines post-divorce adolescents in terms of their developmental changes, changes in the post-divorce lives of their parents, and the failure of a Pennsylvania custody approach to adapt custody arrangements. Next, she looks at possible solutions in light of four major concerns illuminated by research: providing adaptability of custody agreements, reasonably encouraging adolescents? voices, allowing review without increasing conflict, and ensuring enforceability. Finally, she proposes the adoption of a periodic review of custody arrangements to address the best interests of young teens.