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Is it ever right to split up the kids in a divorce?

Divorce is a major life event for all involved — especially the kids. It's a major adjustment for them and they may need some therapy sessions to get through the transition.

But imagine how hard it would be if, in addition to "losing" a parent to divorce, the child also had to adjust to the loss of a sibling?

Don't make it more traumatic than it must be

The Florida courts are pretty firm in their assessment that siblings belong together after divorce, barring exceptional circumstances. Of course, in cases where there are "his, mine and ours," it's inevitable that some of the kids will go with one parent while others will head off with their other parent.

What other circumstances call for splitting up siblings?

The courts assume that most, if not all, siblings love one another. But there are, indeed, families where sibling rivalries and animosities run very deep. The trauma of a divorce may only exacerbate an already contentious relationship between siblings. In some limited circumstances, the courts may give the nod for at least a trial separation of the siblings.

Another circumstance where it may be appropriate for siblings to live separately is when a disabled or medically fragile child needs to live with the caregiver parent full-time to ensure their needs continue to be met with the least possible disruption to their routine. Perhaps down the road this could be revisited if the other parent got some live-in help and handicap modifications to their new home.

When kids take sides in the divorce

Unfortunately, sometimes when parents divorce the kids take sides. If one blames Mom and the other sides with Dad, it can make for some uncomfortable moments under the same roof.

Still, this should not necessarily be a reason to split up the siblings. A better approach is to get the whole family into counseling to work out these issues in a safe, supportive space.

If you anticipate that this issue might arise in your own divorce, it's a good idea to discuss all of your options with your Lee County family law attorney so that you can begin strategizing and arrive at the best solution for all parties.

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