HOW FAMILY COURTS VIEW “SPLIT CUSTODY” IN A DIVORCE CASE
When you are involved in divorce proceedings where children are involved, it’s going to be a difficult time for the children, and any final outcome will be a big adjustment. This is especially true when you have multiple children together. Many tough decisions must be made regarding child custody and parenting. In some cases, parents may feel that it is in the best interest of the children to split them up. Should that ever be a consideration? When one child wants to be with one parent, and the other child with the other parent, is it a feasible option? There are endless questions and strong opinions surrounding the splitting up of siblings.
Many new families choose to have multiple children in the first place so that the children can grow up to be close in nature. Buddies, best pals, playmates; that’s what we think of when we consider siblings. A built in best friend for your child, or in the case of bigger families, more playmates to go around. In the event of divorce, the dream of what you thought your family should be will have to change considerably.
To Split or Not to Split
Each family’s situation is unique, and the court system recognizes that. However, many family court judges will consider the divorce process to be somewhat traumatic for young children, and not be readily in favor of adding to the trauma by separating them from their sibling. In the event that the children actually prefer to be separated from each other, a judge may be more willing to sign off on a split custody arrangement. This option is usually only considered in cases where the children are old enough to be part of the decision making process. Although it varies by state, in Texas a child must be at least 12 years old to be considered old enough to have a voice in his or her own custody arrangement. At this age, a judge may take the child’s wishes into account, but by no means is held to honor those wishes.
A Personal Decision
It’s a very personal decision during a custody situation to decide whether or not to split up your children. If both parents agree to split up the children, the judge may be more likely to go along with the request, although it’s not the usual route taken. Primary joint managing conservatorship as it’s called in Texas, is usually awarded to one parent for all of the children involved. Many split custody situations come about as a natural progression of the children aging and the parents becoming more relaxed about the custody agreement. In these situations, the custody agreement can be legally modified to reflect the current living arrangements.
At the end of the case, the court will always make the decision based on the best interest of the children.