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Sharon: They must've quarreled and parted; and just sort of ... bisected us, each taking one of us.
The Parent Trap (Original Hayley Mills Version)

Parents divorcing is often a stressful time for all involved. Among other things, one of the primary issues is which parent raises the children. In the Western world, this can turn into a very ugly battle in which both parents do their damnedest to ensure they get full custody of all the children.

In Japan, or at least in anime, the parents are more prone to split the kids down the middle, à la the biblical story of Solomon. When this sort of split occurs, the father will get the sons or older children while the mother gets any daughters or younger children. This can and will occur regardless of one parent's skill, or even suitability, to raise a child.

This split will often cause drama between the children, since a Solomon Divorce seems to also require that they never actually see one another again even if they vehemently cried "Don't Split Us Up".

This trope appears to be more common in fiction than reality. Information on Japanese divorce and child custody on The Other Wiki makes no mention of this scenario. In the United States, however, children would (almost) never be split up in a divorce with the possible exception of half- or step-siblings.

Can easily be seen as Values Dissonance or Moral Dissonance, since within the setting this is almost never looked upon as all that unusual. Compare Separated at Birth for examples of when these siblings were separated by other factors.

Examples of Solomon Divorce include:


Anime and Manga

  • Digimon Adventure had this with Yamato & Takeru. Yamato with his father Hiroaki, Takeru with his mother Natsuko. According to the Two-and-a-half Year Break CD drama, Yamato ultimately ended up making the decision.
    • Also, in Digimon Frontier with Koji and Koichi. Koji lives with their dad, Koichi with their mom.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!, Katsuya Jonouchi lived with his father, an alcoholic, while his sister lived with their mother.
  • Ichinensei Ni Nacchattara - Iori and his sister Ion experienced this same split and inexplicably never saw each other again until after Iori's Fountain of Gender Bending incident.
  • Averted in the manga Little House With an Orange Roof, Shoutaro and Natsumi gain full custody of both their children following their respective divorces. Further, Natsumi's struggle to keep her children in the face of a disapproving ex-mother-in-law is a plot point.
  • Koshiro & Nanoka in Koi Kaze were separated for ten years following their parents divorce. The only reason Nanoka comes to live with Koshiro and their father: It's convenient for school.
  • Shugo and Rena .hack Legend of the Twilight can apparently only meet in "The World." Though this isn't explained why it's possible they simply live across the country makeing meeting difficult. This is only in the non-canon anime however. The Manga has their parents together and they are sitting right next to each other while playing the game.
  • Ultimately revealed to be the origin of the two Mazes in Maze Megaburst Space.
  • Setsuna and Sara in Angel Sanctuary, although they make a point of getting together. Sara refers to it as dating, and that's not the worst of it.
  • Saki has the titular character living with her father in a relatively remote area while her elder sister lives with their mother in Tokyo.
  • Averted in Marmalade Boy, where Yuu and Miki's parents Take a Third Option: buying a Big Fancy House and having the two families live there together.
  • Watashi to Watashi: Futari no Lotte is another Animated Adaptation of the below mentioned Lottie and Lisa, so this naturally takes place.

Film

  • Famously done in all versions of The Parent Trap.
  • Shown in the film Catch Me If You Can, where they actually have the son decide who he wants to stay with, instead of deciding themselves.

Literature

  • Lottie And Lisa by Erich Kästner is the original novel from which The Parent Trap was adapted.
  • Done to the boy-girl twins in the novel Pirouette, possibly more justified since this took place before WWII and the splitting parents were Russians living in England. They picked kids via gender, leading to the girl having a happy hippie upbringing with her wild and crazy mom and the boy living a very prim and proper (and filled with suppressed rage from the Parental Abandonment) life in England. When the two kids finally reunited, it didn't go well.
  • Happens in the young adult book Time Twins. The split came about because the social secretary talked to the brother and the sister separately. When the sister explicitly stated that she wanted to live with whichever parent the brother was living with, she is told that his preferences doesn't matter, the secretary wants to know which parent she, the girl, prefers. She picks her mother, hoping that her brother will do so, too: after all, her brother was always closer to the mother than to the father. It turns out that he picked the father, for (presumably) the same reason.
  • In Caucasia by Danzy Senna, biracial protagonist Birdie is left with her white mother when her parents split because her skin is light enough to pass as olive and her "passionate about Black Pride" father feels more connected to her darker-skinned older sister Colette/Cole. Ironically, Birdie was the more interested of the two sisters in racial issues.

Western Animation

  • Terry and Matt in Batman Beyond. In the the first episode, Matt lives with their mom, while Terry lives with their father
    • As the series wore on though it was suggested that prior to the pilot episode Terry's parents shared a joint custody of their sons and the two would shuttle back and forth between them, something that played a part in Terry's early juvenile delinquency.

Web Comics

  • Elan and his Evil Twin Nale, from Order of the Stick, were raised by their mother and father respectively, after they divorced over Character Alignment issues.
  • Goblin King Jareth and his (yet unnamed if you don't count her title as "The Erlkönig's Daughter") sister suffered this fate in the fancomic Roommates. Jareth ended up with his mother (Jadis The White Witch) while his sister was taken by their father (the Erlkönig).
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