Acknowledging the Sibling Bond in Child Custody Situations

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Custody on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

Child custody can sometimes feel like a process with a multitude of overwhelming considerations. However, the legal system functions to help focus the process on the best interests of the child, which should ultimately prove beneficial to everyone.

Some divorce circumstances, though, lead to siblings being separated in child custody determinations. When this occurs, it is usually because the siblings, though they may share a strong bond, are half-siblings. A child from the father's previous marriage, for example, will often stay with the father and the child born to the divorcing mother and father will remain with the mother.

This circumstance can occur in adoption and divorce situations, as well as in circumstances when a death of a parent has occurred. In such cases, siblings may not enjoy visitation with each other following the separation. The legal process does not typically prioritize the sibling bond which researchers have found, when supportive and positive, can lead to more well-adjusted adults.

There are many important considerations, including the sibling bond, in child custody situations. These considerations are always governed by the best interests of the child. The basic considerations that are taken into account in determining child custody include factors such as who the child's primary caretaker is, the preference of the child and some religion and family-structure considerations. Within each of these categories are further factors the courts look to in determining custody.

The reason that these considerations are carefully evaluated is to help ensure that the child's best interest is reached in whatever child custody arrangement is set up. As always, the ability of the parents to agree to what is in the best interests of the child is the best possible outcome for all of the parties involved, including the children. If parents can focus on that, it is more likely that a child custody dispute can be avoided and that the health, safety and well-being of the children and his or her siblings can be assured.

Sometimes parents need help with the emotions related to this obviously difficult process. An experienced family law attorney can help parents preserve the focus on the children, and their best interests, and ensure a positive outcome for everyone.

Source: Huffington Post, "The non-existent sibling in U.S. family law," Avidan Milevsky, Aug. 23, 2013

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