You are certain that you and your spouse will be divorcing, as your relationship is just no longer sustainable for either of you. But with several children involved, custody matters remain unresolved.
Every option you consider has some negative consequences that neither of you wants to accept. Lately, you have been pondering the idea of split custody. Could it work for your family?
Split custody is an atypical arrangement
You should understand that it would be a rare case indeed for a judge to order this unusual type of custody where siblings live apart from one another. When siblings share biological parents or were adopted into the family, the general rule is to keep the kids together at all costs. If stepchildren are added to the mix, they will of course go to live with their bio parent except in the most unusual of circumstances.
But there can be exceptions
In cases where the age disparity is great between siblings and there is an older child who wants to remain living with the parent closest to their school and their friends, it could be argued that the child’s best interests will be served by living full-time with that parent. Also, if siblings fight bitterly and have proven unable to get along, splitting them between parents in the divorce could give everyone some much-needed breathing room to reassess their relationships with each other.
Why it might not work
Sharing childhood memories with siblings is the glue that binds them together later in life — as long as those memories include pleasant ones. Keeping siblings apart can weaken those ties and could prevent the judge from approving the split custody plan. Since all custody decisions by family law courts must be made with the children’s best interests foremost, both parents must be on board with this decision. The courts are also free to seek older kids’ input regarding a potential split custody plan.
What you can do about your custody situation
Gather all of your information and proof that substantiates your position so your family law attorney can make a convincing argument to the judge. Understand that when parents disagree over this arrangement, it would be highly unlikely for the court to rule in its favor.