Washington Child Custody Sibling Separation

When a couple with minor children breaks up, it’s traumatic and downright painful for everyone involved, but especially for the children. Even if children are older, it is difficult to understand the breakdown of an adult relationship and the dynamics of divorce. In a time of loss, children often rely on the strength of their siblings to help them get through difficult times. When parents are fighting over residential schedules or parenting plans, however, siblings may begin to wonder if they, too, will be separated. With this in mind, it is important to consult with a child custody attorney to ensure that all factors are taken into account and both child’s needs are met.

Deciding Custody

In making a decision about residential schedules for children, judges must do whatever he or she determines is in the children’s best interests. A judge often will look to another professional for help in deciding what is best for the children, such as a guardian ad litem, who will interview all of the parties and gather information to make a recommendation to the court about what residential schedule would be in the children’s best interests.

In the vast majority of contested child custody cases, judges will find that keeping siblings together after their parents separate is in their best interests. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a judge is unlikely to take the initiative and split up brothers and sisters. Likewise, a judge will not split up siblings simply because the parents want it that way, unless there is some evidence that splitting the children between the parents is best for the children.

If two siblings have a particularly antagonistic relationship, or one child has special needs or issues that make caring for another child very difficult, the court might consider splitting up siblings in ordering a residential schedule. Some older children may even express their wishes to be separated from their siblings. However, even if a sibling split is what both parents and children want, the judge still must determine whether such an arrangement is truly in the children’s best interests.

Importance of Consulting An Attorney

No matter what issues your child custody involves, our attorneys can guide you through every step of the court proceedings necessary to resolving your case. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about your child custody case and the impact that your case will have on your family. At Ashby Law, we have represented the interests of countless families throughout the legal process.: