28 Jul Splitting Up Children in Custody Arrangements
The determination of child custody is fraught with legal issues. It is traumatic enough for children when their parents have decided to divorce, but it becomes even more emotionally taxing when it comes to deciding which parent has custody and the custodial/visitation arrangements that may throw the children’s lives into chaos.
South Carolina’s Child Custody Arrangement Changes
In South Carolina, the legislature recently passed a variety of different reforms, altering the way in which custody is defined and ordered. Not only was joint and sole custody defined in new ways, further defining the rights and responsibilities of custodial and noncustodial parents, but it also incorporated the concept of the parenting plan, which has been on the rise in custody battles in recent years.
Parenting plans are the compromises between both parents determining how the splitting of custody and visitation time are to be spent. Generally, the courts prefer to see collaboration between the parents through a parenting plan, rather than outlining for the family a custody arrangement which may not best fit the family’s needs.
Splitting of Children
One of the custody issues that has received little attention is the splitting of the children in a custody situation; in other words, where one child goes to one parent, while the other child goes to the other parent. This splitting of siblings is rare but occurs, especially when there are special considerations within the family where the court deems that this arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
Reasoning Behind Splitting Children
Splitting of the siblings leads to a whole host of other issues, such as ensuring that not only the parents get time with their non-custodial children, but also that the siblings, when in the best interest, get time together. There are various reasons why siblings and half-siblings are split during a divorce, including:
- Age of the children, i.e. if one of the children in question is a newborn and needs to be close to his/her mother
- Gender of the children, i.e. where the children can benefit from being with the parent of their same sex for learning purposes
- Inter-fighting between the siblings where there is a negative impact on the children staying together and it’s not in the best interest of the children to remain together
- The children are attending different schools, especially in the circumstance where one of the parents has to relocate
- Child preference
- Financial matters associated with the children, for example, where one child may have special needs and requires specific care, or it is financially burdensome to maintain multiple children in one household, especially where child support may not ameliorate the situation
Sibling Visitation Rights
One part of this type of custody arrangement is the addition of sibling visitation rights. Sibling visitation rights may also be used when half-siblings are split up as a result of their parent and their stepparent divorcing. While there has not been a constitutional right for siblings to visit each other, the courts generally find those sibling relationships are just as important as other familial ties, and that these relationships are in the best interest of the children.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area
Splitting custody is a rare situation and not an arrangement that should be decided lightly. It is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation. We serve clients in the Mount Pleasant, Charleston area and are prepared to assist you today.