Child Custody Q & A - What's Best for Children in a Child Custody Divorce

Child Custody: Parenting Question and Answer

Should full brothers be separated after divorce—one to mom and one to dad? The boys are nine and five.


Dear Lorna,

Before answering your question about child custody, I consulted with my boys who are twelve and ten. When parents (divorced or married) make important decisions, they often leave out their kids. While I'm sure I don't have to remind you that kids have rights feelings too, be aware that your decision can forever impact your children's lives. When I asked my boys if it was okay to separate your children, their resounding and unanimous answer was, "No!" (The exclamation point indicates their mix of surprise and outrage.)

child custody

Although brothers and/or sisters may spend a good part of their time fighting, they love each other and must be kept together in a joint child custody co-parenting arrangement if at all possible.

To further emphasize this point, I asked my son's thirteen-year old friend, who is himself a product of child custody divorce. He and his sixteen-year old sister live part-time with their mother and part-time with their dad. His immediate answer to your question was, "No." When I pressed him for a reason, he said, "Because the kids will get lonely and miss each other."

Although this teenage boy is usually not very forthcoming and has a push-pull relationship with his older sister, he loves her dearly and wouldn't consider life without her.

Children often have a deep sense of what is best for them, so it is important that we consider their best interests. Good parenting means that we're not just thinking about ourselves.

Child custody divorce: when parents separate or divorce, this turns a child's life upside down.

When parents divorce and move to separate homes, this turns the children's lives upside down. On the list of psychosocial stressors—life changes that can be debilitating—divorce and moving are near the top of the list. Of course, this list was designed for adults, but understand that these changes deeply impact children and may lead to a generalized anxiety of what other changes the future may bring.

In all fairness, there is some research that indicates that when one lives with the mother and the other lives with the father, each child does well with the individualized attention. Still, I shake my head at such studies because they base everything on performance while ignoring the deeper issues that can mark a child's heart, soul and self-perceptions for the rest of his life. Such studies are often used to justify parents' tendency to act for their own convenience.

Children are people too. They are sentient little beings and it's time that parents and other adults wake up to this.

Children will always yearn for the best possible scenario which is a family united. If the parents cannot reconcile, then aim at a joint child custody arrangement, so your children will have a constant—each other—in their lives.

Helpful hint: The child custodykeeper will help you coordinate and keep your joint parenting schedule straight.

About the author:

Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book - Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. The book combines native ideas (like true child stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to teach parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and lead fulfilling and meaningful lives as adults. The book is a journey of self-discovery for child and parent. If you're scared that you don't know what you're doing as a parent, this book will help.

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