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How does bird-nesting work?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Child Custody

Typically, when parents share custody of their children, each parent has their own home or apartment where they live. The parents then agree on the custody schedule, or the court provides one for them. In accordance with that schedule, the children move between both of these homes, allowing them to be raised by each parent at separate times.

This certainly can work, but it creates some complications. Parents will sometimes turn to solutions like bird-nesting instead. What is bird nesting, how does it work and why might be applicable in your situation?

The children have their own home

Rather than the parents having homes, in this arrangement, the children stay in the family home 100% of the time. They are the ones who do not have to move.

Custody is still shared. The difference is just that the parents move into the home on the schedule and then they move back out when their ex is supposed to move in. The schedule is for the parents and not the children, which can make things feel a bit more stable for them.

Benefits and drawbacks

This stability is one of the main benefits of using bird-nesting. It can also be helpful because it makes the divorce feel like less of a major change for the children. Parents won’t have to worry about children not having favorite items at the house or getting confused about the custody schedule. For the children, life simply stays the way that it was, they still live in the same home, near the same friends and they go to the same school.

There are downsides to consider, however. You and your spouse will both have to own the home together, so you have to divide up the costs. You also will technically be sharing the space, even if you don’t live in it at the same time. This can be frustrating for some divorced couples. Finally, both of you will need somewhere else to live when you don’t have custody and so you cannot live in the family home with the children. This can make it expensive.

When deciding what you’d like to do, just be sure you understand exactly what legal steps to take and how to put your children first.