Divorced couples work out all sorts of custody and visitation arrangements, usually with their children's best interests in mind. An increasingly common arrangement is something called "bird nesting." The kids stay in the family home and the parents take turns living there.
When they aren't staying at the house with their kids, they may be living in an apartment or perhaps with friends or family members. This arrangement allows children to remain in the home and neighborhood they know, continue to be close to their friends and not have to change schools. They don't have to move their clothes, schoolbooks and other belongings back and forth between their parents' homes.
Why Is It Called Bird Nesting?
The reason it's called "bird nesting" or sometimes "nesting" is because baby birds remain in their nest while their parents journey away and return to feed them and care for them. For kids who are used to their parents going away on business trips, the situation isn't a big change for them. Even if they aren't, remaining in the home they know is still less stressful than moving back and forth.
Although the nesting concept has been around for at least a decade, it's still considered by many to be outside the norm. As a former official with the American Bar Association noted, "Nesting isn't really something that's in the divorce statutes. It's a solution that creative lawyers and parents have developed to address concerns about moving kids. It's often agreed to outside of court -- a creature of settlements, not something that judges would likely order."
Can You Make Bird Nesting Work?
Of course, co-parents generally have to have an amicable relationship to make this custody arrangement work. They have to share expenses for the family home that they continue to maintain. It may only be a temporary solution until the kids get older and go to high school or college, or until one or both have a new significant other. However, if you are considering this arrangement, you should talk with your family law attorney about how to best make it a successful arrangement for the family.
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