Separating Siblings During a Divorce


Child custody issues are one of the most important Pasadena divorce concerns for parents of minor children. When most of us think about child custody, it is a mistake assume that arrangements require siblings to remain together.

It's true that courts generally prefer to keep siblings together after a divorce. The biggest potential downside of splitting siblings during a divorce is that the children lose the ability to have someone on their side who knows what they are going through. Being able to talk to a sibling about the divorce helps alleviate loneliness and gives kids a way to cope with their worries.

However, siblings can be separated if the circumstances warrant it. If the parents agree that splitting custody of the children is the best course of action and the children are old enough to intelligently support the plan, the court may allow it.

There are many different circumstances that could justify splitting siblings during a divorce. If the children have half-siblings that they feel closer to, the court might allow the arrangement to protect this relationship. If the oldest child wants to remain with a different parent in order to finish out high school in the same district, the court may allow the arrangement because of the educational benefits it would offer. If the parents don't have the resources for multiple children living under one roof, economic necessity might justify the unusual custody approach. If one child has special needs, separating the children might be necessary to ensure that both have proper parental care at all times.

Although requests for splitting siblings most often occur among gender lines, the court won't agree to place daughters with the mother and sons with the father just because this is what the parents desire.

When siblings are separated, sibling visitation should be made a part of the post-divorce parenting plan. The sibling relationship should still be nurtured even when siblings no longer live under the same roof. If you have a detailed parenting plan to encourage sibling contact, you will increase the odds of the court approving your custody request.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm is staffed with experienced attorneys who are eager to advocate for your needs throughout the process.