In determining which parent will get custody, will the courts give greater weight to keeping siblings together? What about half-siblings?
The main focus of the court is to determine the best interest of the child. Whether the best of interest of the child is to be with their siblings primarily is to be determined. In all cases, the courts use the 16 factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children. The courts understand that the relationship a child shares with their siblings is an important one that can play a large role in their development. As such, one of the factors the courts consider is which party is likely to keep siblings together. The courts will also consider the requests of the child, depending on their age and reasoning. This is includes if the child is requesting to live apart from their siblings.
In Philadelphia, the courts have looked at a compelling reason standard. This means that the courts will usually look toward keeping the child with their siblings unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. However, if there is a substantial custody arrangement that can still satisfy the goal of significant relationship between the children, the courts will allow the separation of the siblings. These principals can also be applied to half siblings.