When you share children with your ex, divorce can get complicated quickly. Disagreements over custody can make divorce infinitely more difficult for couples, even if they want to keep conflict low.
Couples have to consider every unique solution that might meet their family’s needs while limiting how hard this change is for the children. Most families with children will share custody between parents, with each parent having visitation, if not regular overnight parenting time.
However, for families with multiple children, it may sometimes be a better solution to split custody.
What is the difference between split custody and shared custody?
Shared custody refers to an arrangement where both parents sometimes have legal and physical custody over their children. The children go back and forth between households, with each parent assuming responsibility for the children for a certain number of nights each week.
Split custody involves both parents but in a very different way. Parents with multiple children might decide that it is better to have the parents each assume responsibility for certain children. For example, in a family with two boys and two girls, the parents might divide the children along gender lines to keep housing costs low and conflict minimal.
Other times, the split might be based on the relationships the parents have with the children. A scenario where one parent has stayed home to care for a child with special needs might mean they keep custody over that child while the other children of the family go with the other parent, theoretically optimizing the results for everyone in the family. Parents may also arrange to sometimes switch custody, so that the kids still get to spend plenty of time with each of their parents.
Unique custody arrangements often require advance planning
If your family would benefit from a unique custody arrangement that deviates from the standard shared custody between parents, negotiating terms for a parenting plan ahead of time can be smart. By setting your terms in writing and pursuing an uncontested divorce, you tell the court exactly how you want to share parental responsibilities.
Exploring all the ways you can share parental responsibilities with your ex can make it easier for you to find solutions that work for your family’s unique custody needs.