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Sibling bond and split child custody decrees


If the marriage falls apart, what happens to half-siblings? Here in Philadelphia, there are distinct provisions that force children without blood ties to be separated. It is unfortunate but laws do exist that legally end relationships between children.

Of course, siblings, no matter how they came about, have certain bonds between them. They grew up together, depend on each other, laugh at each other's jokes, become best friends. These bonds should not be broken.

Sadly, in the case where a couple files for divorce, any ties between children go with their parents. In a recent article, two child siblings were forced to be separated because one of the children was from the father's previous marriage and the other was from the current one. When the parents' petition for divorce was granted, the decree also included the end of any relationship between the children.

This disturbing scenario is a family law fact in many cases, such as adoption, divorce and death of a parent. Sadly, laws do not take into consideration possible bonds that connect half-siblings and visitation rights for these children are not included in any divorce legal discussions.

Recent studies have proved that there are advantages to non-normative family and sibling relationships. Experts are finding that siblings tend to support each other during times of distress or family crises.

Recognizing the inequity of this problem, a local representative has recently proposed new legislation to the State's House. House Bill 642 is seeking partial custody or visitation for siblings whose ties have been cut by divorce. The bill is scheduled to be presented to the Children and Youth Committee in the coming weeks.

Allowing siblings to seek partial custody or visitation is appropriate after discovering overwhelming scientific research that supports the role that siblings play in each others' lives, especially during a family crisis. For more information, speaking with a family law professional may help. A legal professional in Philadelphia can provide valuable advice and assistance for any family legal issues in divorce, child custody and financial support.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com," The Non-Existent Sibling in U.S. Family Law," Avidan Milevsky, Aug. 23, 2013

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