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Are Split Parenting Arrangements Harmful to Children?

Picture two siblings who love each other very much, let’s say twin brothers. They care for each other deeply and do everything together. They go to school together, the play together and they even do homework together. Now imagine how these two brothers would feel if they were told that they would no longer be able to spend the quality time together that they have grown to depend on because according to mommy and daddy’s custody arrangement, one brother has to live with dad and the other brother has to live with mom.

Although split custody arrangements are not very common, among the other custodial arrangement options, split custody otherwise known as split parenting is an available custody option in Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(a)(21). According to Georgia law, split parenting in situations where “there are two or more children of the same parents, where one parent is the custodial parent for at least one child of the parents, and the other parent is the custodial parent for at least one other child of the parents. In a split parenting case, each parent is the custodial parent of any child spending more than 50 percent of the time with that parent and is the noncustodial parent of any child spending more than 50 percent of the time with the other parent. A split parenting situation shall have two custodial parents and two noncustodial parents, but no child shall have more than one custodial parent or noncustodial parent.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 (a)(21).

There is almost no question that it is healthy for siblings to have a positive relationship with each other. In fact, studies have shown that siblings that enjoy healthy relationships with each other exhibit greater emotional understanding, greater cognitive abilities, greater social understanding, greater moral sensibility, and better psychological adjustment. Although it is not impossible for siblings being raised in a split parenting arrangement to maintain a strong and nurturing relationship with each other, just as with any other relationship, time and distance can have a negative impact. Thus, if you are a divorcing parent considering split parenting as a possible custodial arrangement, it is very important for you and your future co-parent to honestly discuss the possible impact this custodial arrangement may have on your family and on your children’s well being.

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