Solomon Divorce

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. 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 fiction, another solution is sometimes agreed upon: the parents split the kids down the middle, á 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".

The trope appears to be more common in fiction than reality. Children are (almost) never split up in a divorce with the possible exception of half- or step-siblings.

Named after the Judgment of Solomon, except in that case there was only one child. 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.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure had this with Yamato & Takeru. Yamato with his father, Takeru with his mother. According to the Two-and-a-half Year Break CD drama, Yamato ultimately ended up making the decision of which kid went with which parent.
    • Also in Digimon Frontier with Koji and Koichi. Koji lives with their dad, Koichi with their mom. Despite being identical twins neither twin was aware of the other, with Koichi only finding out from his grandmother on the latter's death bed.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!, Katsuya Jonouchi lived with his father, an alcoholic and gambling addict (which is probably a factor why his dueling style heavily involves luck), while his sister lived with their mother. Jonouchi and his mother were reluctant to even speak to each other until his sister's eye surgery (which Jonouchi paid for), and the plot didn't dwell on it. (Seeing as he was very close to his sister after that, we can assume he and his mother were at least on speaking terms.)
  • 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 making 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. The Miyanagas are separated, but not yet divorced, and Saki holds out hope that they will be able to reunite as a family.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure!: Miki Aoni/Cure Berry lives with just her mom, who was divorced with her Disappeared Dad and taking her brother Kazuki with him. They just coincidentally attend to the same school, and then Miki took advantage that nobody noticed the trope happening in their family, to ask Kazuki to pretend that they're a couple, just so Miki doesn't get swarmed with a lot of unwanted admirers.
  • Strobe Edge: Daiki lives with his dad and Mayuka with her mom after their parents divorced.
  • Also happened in Ao Haru Ride, (from the same author of Strobe Edge) with Kou moving away with his mother while his older brother stayed with their father. A few years later, he moves back in with his father after his mother's death.
  • In Saiyuki, this is part of Hakkai's convoluted backstory. His parents divorced when he was a toddler, with his mother taking him and his father taking his twin sister. They didn't meet again until they encountered each other by chance at school and promptly fell in love. Too bad about that Westermarck Effect never having the chance to kick in...

    Comic Books 
  • In the DCU, this happened in the backstory of Todd Rice, aka Obsidian. After his adoptive father lost his job and started drinking heavily, Mrs. Rice eventually got fed up and declared she and the younger son were leaving. Todd didn't want to leave his father alone and stayed; his mother walked out with little Jeremy without a second thought or a forwarding address, and was never heard from again.

  • Famously done in The Parent Trap (all versions). The parents of a pair of infant twin girls each take one with them after they divorce, and the children only find out about it after meeting each other by chance.
  • This is the cause of the rift between the main characters in Warrior. Due to the father being an abusive alcoholic, the mother decided to run away and take the kids. Younger brother Tommy was happy to go, even though he was his father's favorite and star athlete. Older brother Brendan decided to stay because he fell in love with his Highschool Sweetheart and also at the possibility of gaining some time with his father, since he always felt as if he was the Unfavorite.

  • 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 one kid having a happy hippie upbringing with her wild and crazy mom and the other kid 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. Ironically, Birdie was the more interested of the two sisters in racial issues.
  • In The Babysitters Club, Dawn's brother Jeff moved back to California because he missed his father after being separated from him after their parents' divorce. Dawn temporarily did this as well, but ultimately decided to stay in Stoneybrook with their mother.

  • Elan and his Evil Twin Nale, from The Order of the Stick, were raised by their mother and father respectively, after they divorced over Character Alignment issues.
    • And they intentionally didn't tell either twin about the other, so as to increase the dramatic tension should they ever meet as adults. At least, that's Elan's theory.
      • Confirmed by their father, at least in regards to why he didn't tell the one he raised. For their mother's part, Elan later recalls finding her crying time to time over a lost "Nail" when he was a child. At the time, he thought she was just upset over carpentry but looking back it seems she was too heartbroken to ever explain the situation to Elan.
  • Goblin King Jareth and his sister Aisling suffered this fate in the Fan Webcomic Roommates. Jareth ended up with his mother (Jadis The White Witch) while his sister was taken by their father (the Erlkönig). In a ways it's playing with the trope, as it is implied that Jadis isn't the mother of the girl, so she kept her own child to protect him from a perceived threat.

    Western Animation 
  • Terry and Matt in Batman Beyond. In the the first episode, Matt lives with their mom, while Terry lives with their father. Unlike most examples, there appears to be regular visitation. As the series wears on it is suggested that prior to the pilot episode Terry's parents shared 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.