Split custody is a custody arrangement that involves multiple children and awards sole custody divided between the two parents. In some cases, the children live permanently with one parent. In others, the children rotate living with each parent in equal amounts. Split custody is generally disfavored by judges because it's generally not considered beneficial to split up siblings. As such, split custody is the least common type.
However, there are some situations where split custody is the best method. For example, if there are children who are very combative or abusive with each other, one child has serious mental health problems, or it is otherwise impossible to parent them together all the time due to their joint behaviors, parents can choose to engage in a split custody arrangement.
Another common situation where split custody is implemented is when one of the children is an older teen and wants to live with the parent other than the primary custodial one. Courts generally listen to teens’ preferences in these situations, as long as the other parent can provide a safe living environment.
In order to get split custody, parents must ensure that their state laws allow for it, they must agree on the custody arrangement, and they must show the court that split custody is the best way to serve the interests of your children. The court will look at a number of factors before it will allow a split custody arrangement. In some states, these are listed in the split custody laws. In others, the court will use the "best interests of the child" standard to see if it is right for the children. Note that even if the parents agree on the arrangement, the court may not approve it.
See also: visitation rights
[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]