You have likely heard of joint custody, where you and the child’s other parent share legal responsibility for the child and, usually, the child stays with you part time and the other parent part time. Split custody, on the other hand, is a situation in which your two (or more) children’s living arrangements are split between you and the other spouse. For example, your 10-year-old son may live with you while your seven-year-old daughter lives with the other parent. The court usually frowns upon split custody for a variety of reasons. The average North Carolina family that has children has more than one. In fact, the average is 1.75 for families that do have children, according to the Census. We understand that there are many ways that child custody can go, and split custody may or may not work for you and your children.
Sibling Relationship is Lost
With a split custody arrangement, the sibling relationship between the two children would be lost or severely limited. The children would likely not see each other very often, even if you and the other parent had visitation with the other child on the weekends or if their time together with the same parent overlaps occasionally. The North Carolina court usually believes that it is in both children’s best interest to live together and, if joint custody is an option, to move between the two households as a pair instead of individually. During divorce, or any time of despair or uprooting of normal life and routine, a sibling can be the most beneficial part of a young child’s life. According to The Only Child Project, and reported in the Huffington Post, “Without a sibling to share the burden or ease his pangs, an only child’s experience of divorce is significantly higher than other children.”
Split Custody Can be a Good Option if the Sibling Relationship is Already Very Strained, or for Other Reasons
While it used to be much more common to split up siblings a few generations ago due to possible financial strains that one or two of the parents might have, in today’s times this is remedied by child support. Although not a perfect system, due to the commonality of delinquent payments, child support negates the reason for split custody. However, if the sibling relationship is already at an unhealthy state and serious fights and arguments are frequent, there may be grounds for a split custody agreement. There may be other reasons to pursue a split custody agreement as well, such as a very wide age gap between the two children. For example, maybe one child is new baby set to live with the mother in a new city, while the other child is about to go off to college in a year and wishes to stay with the parent that is staying in the old home. There are many scenarios where split custody may be a viable option.
Call a Charlotte, North Carolina Attorney for Help Today
Our attorneys can help make split custody possible, or conversely, can help to ensure that split custody does not occur if the other parent wants split custody and you know that it would not be a healthy decision to make on behalf of your children’s well being. Contact Powers Landreth PLLC in Charlotte today to speak with an attorney.