What You Should Know About Separating Siblings After Divorce
Divorce can be an extremely difficult process for both parties, and when children are involved, the situation gets even more precarious. Depending on your relationship with your soon-to-be ex and the assets you share, you may be overwhelmed by the prospect of dividing all your property, and in some cases, spouses see their children as yet another piece of property to be divided.
In marriages with multiple children, couples will sometimes entertain the idea of one parent taking one child and the other parent taking the other. Though this might seem like the fairest choice at the time, it can often create extremely negative consequences for your children’s wellbeing, their relationship with you, and their relationship with their siblings. Here are a few of the primary issues with splitting up siblings during custody agreements:
Loneliness exacerbates the pain of divorce
Watching parents get divorced is difficult for any child regardless of age, and the experience can cause children to feel separated from their friends and peers. However, siblings facing the same struggle will often turn to each other for comfort, which is why separating siblings through custody will only make the process more difficult for your children.
They are left alone with their worries
For children of divorce of any age, there is likely a host of worries running through their mind. Will my parents get back together? Will I have to welcome a new stepparent into my life? Is everything going to change? As you’re focusing on getting through your divorce, you may not notice the amount of worry and uncertainty your children are facing. This is why allowing your children to stay together in a singular living situation can be so beneficial. Your children will have many of the same worries and will be able to give each other hope and encouragement to get through the divorce process as well as the months and years following.
Loyalties become unclear
When parents are married, evenly splitting loyalty between mother and father is relatively easy for most children, taking into consideration how healthy their home life is and how much time they spend with each parent individually. However, during a divorce, children can start to feel their parental loyalty splitting depending on which parent they live with, which can be emotionally distressing. Additionally, children sometimes carry the burden of keeping secrets for the parent they live with, which only serves to widen the gap between the child and their non-custodial parent. In times like these, it can be extremely beneficial for children to have their siblings around to share the burdens of their difficult feelings.
Adjusting to stepfamilies becomes more complicated
If you or your ex remarry and your children are living apart due to split custody, integrating a stepparent into your children’s lives will be extremely complex and more awkward than it needs to be. Especially if stepchildren come into the picture, your children will need each other to handle the stress of a blended family and feel more grounded in who they are.
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