What is the difference between split custody and shared custody?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Child Custody |

Finding a way to share custody with your ex is never easy. When you have unique or demanding family circumstances, it can be that much harder to make custody arrangements that will really work for your family.

For example, do you have a child with special needs? Do you have a very large family, making it hard for one parent to provide for the needs of all of the children at once? Do you have a newborn in the family who demands more attention than their older siblings?

Any of these situations might be a reason for your family to consider trying split custody instead of a standard shared custody arrangement.

How is split custody different from shared custody?

In a standard shared custody arrangement, each parent has designated parenting time when they are the ones responsible for the needs of the children. In split custody arrangements, both parents will assume primary custody over certain children.

However, instead of one parent assuming full responsibility for all of the children at once, the parents find a way for each of them to be partially present. That might mean that a recently postpartum mother takes the newborn most days, while her ex usually parents the older children.

It might mean that the parent with the less demanding job or who has committed more of their time to the care of a child with special needs steps up to be the main caregiver while their ex parents the other children most of the time. Split custody might even look like allowing your children to have the final say in where they stay, with each parent agreeing to care for the children who would prefer to live with them most of the time.

Why do parents decide to split custody?

Sometimes, the demands of parenting can overwhelm one person. Whether you have one family member with particularly high needs or too many children to monitor them all safely simultaneously, it may be more practical for your family to agree to split those parental responsibilities between parents rather than just expecting either parent to handle all of the stress at once.

Split parenting helps ensure that every child, especially any with special needs, receives the support that they require. If you think that this unique kind of custody arrangement could help your family, it may be worth discussing it with your ex and your attorney.