Child Custody

Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of a court order after a divorce is the child custody arrangement. For some parents, this is all that matters. For the court, the well-being of the child always comes first. When this ruling is being made, it may be worth it to consider a relatively new practice known as birdnesting.

What Is It?

Typically, when custody is divided between two parents, the children are traded back and forth, from one house to the other. They may live with Dad for a week, then Mom for a week. They may live with Mom all of the time and visit Dad on the weekends. There are plenty of ways that it can be divided up, but the children are constantly moving and growing up in two different homes.

With birdnesting, the children never move. Instead, the parents are the ones who move back and forth. Exactly how this is done differs. In some cases, each parent may own an apartment, along with the marital home, and they can live in their own spaces when not in the home. In other situations, in which the two are on good terms, they may just own one house and one apartment, trading off and on regarding who is living in each one.

The Upsides

If parents agree to do this, there are a number of considerable upsides. Children don't have to go through the stress of moving. They feel like they have their “own” homes and their own rooms. They just have one copy of each item -— like clothes, toothbrushes, and toys. They feel more relaxed staying in a place where they are comfortable. They're always close to friends, schools, and other centers for social activity. Essentially, though the parents are divorced, the children are able to live as closely as possible to the way they'd live if the parents had stayed together.

The Legal Side

Of course, doing this brings about a number of important legal questions. Who is going to pay the mortgage on the home and the rent on the apartment? How are you going to divide the utilities? What legal guarantees are needed to make the situation fair for both sides? If you're considering this, be sure you know what legal steps you and your spouse need to take.