Child Custody Options: When to Consider Split Custody

5 Reasons Split Custody May Be a Beneficial Child Custody Arrangement

Split custody, which refers to siblings living in different households, is a difficult arrangement for both parents and children. Generally, the courts prefer for all children to reside with one or both parents because having siblings live together after a separation typically serves the best interests of the children. Here are some reasons why a court may consider a split custody arrangement:​​​​

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Age and Gender of the Child

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A court may order a split custody arrangement when children reach a certain age, particularly if one child is interested in learning from a parent of the same-sex.

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Children Don't Get Along

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Infrequently, a court may order a split custody arrangement when children have a hard time getting along with each other.  However, it’s not the court's first choice to split children, as courts will prefer for parents and children to attend therapy sessions or mediation.

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The Children Prefer Different Schools

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A court may order a split custody arrangement if a parent relocates and at least one of the children has more educational or social opportunities in the other state. An example of better opportunities might be advanced sporting activities or academic achievements.

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The Child's Wishes

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A child may prefer to live with one parent over the other, without regard to where his/her siblings live. In this case, a court of law may comply with the child's wishes and order a split custody arrangement, based on the best interests of the child.

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The Financial Responsibilities of the Child’s Other Parent

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A court may consider a split custody arrangement if one parent is financially incapable of caring for multiple children and splitting the custody arrangement would enable children in both households to receive proper care. Prior to ordering split custody, the court would inquire as to how one parent can financially assist the other parent, such as making a consideration of increasing child support payments.