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Birdnesting: What Is it, and Is It Right For Us?

 Posted on May 19, 2016 in Child Custody

Naperville family law attorneyMany parents fear the impact their divorce may have on their children. Will separating scar them? Will the transition from one home to two be too difficult? Will they ever know what a healthy relationship is like? In reality, with the divorce rate in America being as high as it is, children survive divorce all the time. The initial separation and transition period afterwards may be difficult, but children are resilient. Some parents however, hoping to prioritize their children and spare them some divorce pain, have opted for a co-parenting arrangement that is gaining popularity across the country. Birdnesting, or “bird’s nest” co-parenting, allows the children to remain in their family home, while the parents rotate in and out according to a set schedule.

How Does Birdnesting Work?

In a typical divorce involving children, the parents separate, one or both move, and the children split their time between both parents at separate households. With birdnesting, the children get to remain in the family’s home, and the parents, who are more easily able to deal with change, rotate in and out. While one parent resides in the family home and parents the children, the other lives in a separate dwelling of some kind. The parents then take turns moving in and out of the home in accordance with their co-parenting schedule.

This unique type of arrangement works best for parents planning to co-parent, or share their parenting responsibilities, versus a situation where one parent is the primary caregiver and the other is the “visiting” parent. Of course, both parents need to be cooperative and willing to work together, as they will need to continuously interact with each other for as long as the birdnesting arrangement lasts. House rules must be made and followed strictly by both parents, and both parents must share mutual respect for each other.

Pros and Cons of Birdnesting

Most divorce specialists agree that birdnesting arrangements do help lessen the stress of divorce for the family’s children. Allowing the children to remain in the same home means their lives will be only minimally disrupted. The children are able to stay at the same school, have the same household routines, keep their friends, and maintain close relationships with both parents. For parents hoping to place the needs of their children over their own, birdnesting is a sensible option, and one that more and more families are choosing.

These types of living arrangements do have their downsides, however. One concern is the possible costs involved in maintaining multiple residences. If possible, the co-parents can maintain one family home and then rent an apartment or small living space for the “off-duty” parent to live in. Sharing two homes with an ex can be difficult, however, and some co-parents may find it necessary for each parent to have their own space to live in while “off-duty.” Three rents or house payments can be difficult to maintain.

Another cause for concern is the possibility that one or both parents will pursue new partners or dating in the future. Things can be tricky in shared living spaces if a new love interest is brought into the mix.

A Qualified Family Law Attorney Can Help

While birdnesting may be too uncomfortable for some, it can be a great solution for parents looking to prioritize their children over themselves. Both parents need to be willing to work together, live in close proximity to each other, and should expect to sacrifice some privacy. If you are thinking of birdnesting, consider seeking the help of a skilled professional. The experienced DuPage family law attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C., work to support families. Let us help you find a co-parenting agreement that works best with your situation and fits the needs of everyone involved. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.


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