Divorce is terrifying, especially for children. When a couple gets divorced, their kids often cannot completely understand why their parents will no longer be together. This can lead to feelings of guilt, uncertainty, and fear. One home becomes two in a divorce - a big change for everyone to adjust to.
Along with other aspects of the divorce process, parents will need to decide how to share custody of their children. When there are two or more children in a family, parents might consider splitting their children. However, is this what is best for siblings?
Sibling Bonds in Divorce
Throughout the divorce process, siblings often will lean on each other for support during this change in the family structure. They are in the same situation, thus making it easier to relate and empathize with each other. Research shows that this creates a strong sibling bond as they try to navigate their parent’s divorce.
There are other benefits for keeping siblings together after a divorce, including:
It helps them feel more stable while dealing with new changes.
They can find comfort in knowing they are not alone during this process.
They have someone they can talk to that truly understands how they are feeling.
Older siblings can protect their younger siblings from some of the more painful aspects of their parent’s divorce.
Will Courts Separate Siblings?
The children’s best interests will always take precedent in custody cases. Because of this bond, courts are hesitant to split siblings up following their parent’s divorce. It’s not in the children’s best interest to keep them apart in a time where they greatly benefit from each other’s company.
Only in cases where there are unique circumstances will the court consider split custody. For example, if one sibling poses a legitimate threat to their sibling’s safety, then the court might decide to separate them.
While parents cannot make requests to separate their children, sometimes kids can state their preference if they are of sufficient age and have the mental capacity to make a sound and logical reason for why they want to live with one parent over the other. In this situation, siblings could potentially be separated. The court can take their preference into consideration, but it is not guaranteed if they don’t believe it is in the child’s best interest.
In most cases, it’s best to keep siblings together. Through this uncertain time, they can find relief and support from each other which can make it easier to get through their parent’s divorce. For parents, it may seem fair to split their children up so they can each have custody, but they need to consider the implications on their kids first. Children don’t have any say in how they are raised, which is why it’s so important that courts protect their best interests.
If you need assistance with a child custody matter in San Diego, call Embry Family Law today at (619) 485-6476.