Lawyers Helping Families Sort Out Legal Matters

Kids splitting up? Is that in their best interests?

As parents, you want your kids to be happy. What you didn't expect was that the divorce would divide them. Your daughter wants to go to live with her dad, because he's going to be close to her high school and friends. Your son wants to live with you, because he's young and is used to you being at home with him through the day.

You and your spouse have talked it over, and you're not sure what you should do. On one hand, it's better to keep the kids together. On the other hand, the separation could also be beneficial, especially because there is such a large age gap between your children.

Split custody, or when each parent has primary custody of one child while having visitation with the other, is an uncommon situation, but it can work for some people. When should you consider this kind of arrangement? You might like split custody if:

  • Your child is asking for it, becasue they want to live with the other parent or because they don't get along with a sibling well.
  • Your children have special needs that require attention. Sometimes, it's best to place each child with a single parent who can spend time caring for them.
  • Your child has behavior issues and does better with you or your spouse. When your child behaves better with one of you over the other, then it might make sense to split custody and have them stay with the parent they're more comfortable with.
  • There are opportunities that are open to certain children with one parent or the other. For instance, if you're a dance instructor and your child wants to dance, it makes sense for them to stay with you. However, if your spouse was working in IT and your child wants to work with computers, then their expertise might provide more opportunities to your child.

Split custody doesn't mean your children shouldn't spend time together. It's a smart idea to have holidays or days when your kids do stay at the same home. Try to have at least some times where custody overlaps, so that your children still get to see one another as well as both parents.

Deciding if split custody is right for you could be hard. Your attorney can talk to you about those they've met who have used this kind of custody in the past and explain how you may be able to make it work.

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