I have 3 children, 16 year old son and daughters 12 and 10. I have been divorced for 7 years now and though it is not always financially easy, I feel I am doing the right thing in keeping them in one household. My ex husband is remarried and wants our son to come live with him. My ex has a 6 year old daughter with his current wife and two step daughters 17 and 11. I feel in my heart that splitting our children would be confusing and hard on all of them.
Generally, courts try to make custody or time sharing arrangements that are in the best interest of the children. In most cases, a split custodial arrangement is not recommended because siblings have close, special relationships, and they need the consistency of the sibling relationship to cope with the many changes in the family. However, in some cases, a split custodial arrangement is considered viable because the siblings are not that close and the logistical issues surrounding getting to schools, seeing friends, and having time with each parent are flexible.
I can't advise you directly on this issue because I have not had an opportunity to conduct a formal evaluation, but I can recommend that you consider some of the factors described above as you contemplate this decision. Your family has been through a significant transformation with the divorce, and I imagine things are only now beginning to settle down, seven years after you and your ex-husband parted ways. Ultimately, I think there would need to be a lot of compelling reasons for your son to live with his father given that the move will cause significant reverberations throughout the two households. Your children have already had to endure so many changes.
That said, your son is old enough that he will likely have a thoughtful opinion on the issue, as well. What are his wishes? How do your daughters feel about it?
Weigh the evidence and consider the feelings of all involved. You are clearly a loving and devoted mother, and I have little doubt that you and your ex-husband will come to a good decision.
Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Child Psychologist