If you are in the midst of a custody battle, you may be wondering whether or not it’s healthy and/or legally possible to split up the children, and how the judge might view that request.
The court recognizes that each family situation is unique; splitting up siblings is not a cut-and-dried issue. The judge will look at numerous factors and make a determination based on what’s in the children’s best interests.
Factors the Judge Takes into Consideration
Some families, for various reasons of their own, mutually agree that splitting the children would be best for them. When both parents are in agreement, the judge may grant the request.
However, if the parties aren’t in agreement, the judge will have to look at important factors surrounding the case before determining whether or not to split up the siblings into two separate households.
Below are some of the considerations the judge will look at before granting a split custody arrangement:
- Same-sex – Courts might consider splitting the children so they can live with their same-sex parent, particularly older children.
- Sibling rivalry – If the siblings have a history of sibling rivalry that isn’t responding well to mediation and counseling, the courts may consider separating them.
- Relocation – If one parent moves out of state, and some siblings may fare better there, while others may fare better in the home state, the judge may grant split custody.
- Children’s wishes –metimes, whether it’s for familiarity or friends or personal preference, one of the children will wish to live with Mom while the other with Dad. While children’s preferences don’t guarantee the court will grant the request, it may take it into consideration. The child’s age and maturity – and ability to make such decisions – factor into the court’s decision.
In terms of raising a well-adjusted child, there are facts that parents may consider. For instance, each child should have both structured and unstructured time together with each parent. Consistent rules in each household create a bedrock of stability for children of all ages. Also, children should be allowed to carry cherished personal items back-and-forth between homes regardless of which parent purchased the item.
Creating a Visitation Schedule
If you are considering a split custody arrangement, it’s important to devise a workable visitation schedule. When creating a parenting plan, try to schedule visits that allow each parent to get time with the child(ren) that live separete, and that allow the children to get to spend time together.
For instance, when the parents live a great distance apart, a feasible a split sibling arrangement might look like this:
- Child A stays with mom during the school year, and Child B with dad;
- both children are together for holiday breaks, alternating between mom and dad’s house; and
- both children are with mom for the first half of the summer, and with dad for the second half.
If you are trying to determine which custody arrangements might be the best for your family, or how the judge might make determinations in a custody battle, call the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC, serving Dallas and surrounding areas. Contact us today at (214) 290-8001 for a consultation.