Ryan Family Law, P.C.
Ryan Family Law, P.C.

Elgin, Illinois

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Do siblings ever get split up in a divorce? 

You’re getting divorced and you have two children. You naturally assume that you and your ex are going to divide custody so that both kids live with one of you and then they switch over to the other house.

But then your spouse suggests splitting up the custody between the children. This way, neither one of you has to care for both children at the same time. You can each simply take care of one and then trade. 

Your spouse presents this as a good idea, but you can’t imagine breaking up the kids. Does this ever happen?

Split custody is very rare

Your gut instinct that this is a bad idea is correct. Courts do generally agree that it is an overall negative for children to be split up from each other during a divorce. They will try to keep siblings on the same custody schedule whenever possible. Failing to do so can really hinder those sibling relationships and make the divorce much more stressful and difficult.

There are rare exceptions in which split custody will be used. But it’s not just done for the convenience of the parents, as your spouse is suggesting. For example, it may be used in a scenario where the child has special needs and is far better off being with one parent, who can offer the required care. That child may stay with the single parent at all times, while the other siblings switch custody back and forth. But, again, this is the exception and certainly not the rule. 

Understanding your rights

It’s very crucial that you get the custody agreement right when you get divorced. It’s going to define much of your future. Be sure you know what legal steps to take. 

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