A divorce can be emotionally draining for most people, but it can be more challenging when it involves children. Maryland judges make custody decisions considering children’s well-being. Although they usually award parents joint custody, sometimes one parent gains full custody, and the other has visitation.
Under extreme circumstances, a judge may also determine that split custody is the ideal option.
What does split custody entail?
Split custody occurs when a judge separates children, giving their custodianship to different parents. This arrangement is an extreme measure that conflicts with the assumption that keeping siblings together provides stability, comfort and companionship that helps them endure the inevitable changes that accompany divorce.
When would a judge consider split custody?
Although split custody is rare, there are times when it makes sense. For example, siblings who have an intense rivalry or pose a physical threat to each other may benefit from living in separate households. This arrangement can also help parents coordinate therapeutic interventions that may resolve the conflict.
Split custody may also make sense when one child has a need or talent that one parent’s living environment can better serve. For example, a musical prodigy may benefit from living with a parent near a conservatory where the child can develop this talent. Alternatively, a child with a disability may require therapy that is more accessible where one parent lives.
Finally, the court may consider the preference of an older child with much younger siblings or one who exhibits ongoing behavior problems with one parent.
Child custody issues can complicate a divorce, but the Maryland courts encourage parents to work together to promote their children’s interests.