Media outlets reported that actor Kelsey Grammer, who is embroiled in a contentious divorce with his third wife Camille Grammer, put together a proposal in which the parties would live in separate parts of the country (he in Chicago, Camille in California) and they would each have primary custody of one of their two children; splitting up the siblings.
While not entirely unprecedented, it would be difficult for Mr. Grammer to convince a judge or custody evaluator that it would serve the children’s best interests to split up their two children and have each live thousands of miles apart.
In fact, based on the appellate court decision in Marriage of Williams (2001) 88 Cal. App. 4th 808, Mr. Grammer is unlikely to prevail. In Williams, the court held that California policy affords strong protection to sibling relationships and that—absent compelling circumstances, such as extraordinary emotional, medical or educational needs—an order separating siblings between custodial households ordinarily will be reversed as detrimental to the children’s best interest.
While Mr. Grammer’s arguments in favor of splitting up the siblings are not known, he would face a difficult challenge in this instance.
The Certified Family Law Specialists at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have decades of experience handling complex and heavily disputed custody issues. If you are in the midst of a custody dispute involving multiple children or if one might arise soon and you are concerned about the possibility of your children being separated from his or her siblings, please contact the Certified Family Law Specialists at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, who can provide you with an in depth analysis of your issues.