There are many different options for child custody and parenting time after a divorce. Usually, parents live separately and the children move back-and-forth between their homes.
But some parents will use another option, which is known as birdnesting, so that their children don’t have to bear the stress of constantly moving. With birdnesting, the children always live in the same house. The parents set up a child custody schedule that tells them when to move in and out, and they trade places. This can be very beneficial for children, but there are some challenges associated with this arrangement, so it isn’t the best approach for every family.
It requires cooperation
One of the biggest issues is that parents who embrace this approach are essentially still sharing their former marital home. They’re going to have shared bills and responsibilities. They both need to do chores around the house, do upkeep and maintain the home. All of this requires them to cooperate. Some couples can do so after a divorce, but others find that it is too difficult emotionally and/or practically.
It can be financially challenging
One of the biggest hurdles is that birdnesting can be very expensive. At minimum, a former couple still needs to own two residences so that each can have a place to stay when the other person is in the family home. In some cases, they may own three total residences – one for each parent, plus the family home. Which some can afford to do this, it is a financially prohibitive approach for many families.
There isn’t a clean break
In some cases, a couple may just want to end their relationship and have as little contact as possible. These adults know that they’ll still need to communicate regarding their children, but they want to move forward and start their own lives. They want new relationships and/or a clean break. This is virtually impossible with birdnesting because both spouses will still have a high level of contact with each other. Those who think that continued contact at this level will make it too hard to move forward may not like this arrangement or find it beneficial.
Of course, there are many different options couples can consider when getting a divorce. They just need to know what legal options they have as they work to put their children first and find a viable solution. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start evaluating one’s options and clarifying one’s goals accordingly.