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Bird nesting child custody — what is it?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Divorce

Disputes regarding your children may be one of the issues that led to your decision to file for a divorce. Many Pennsylvania parents can relate to your experience. On the other hand, perhaps you and your ex mostly see eye-to-eye when it comes to the kids, and child-related issues had nothing to do with the breakdown of your marriage. If the two of you get along well and want to cause as little disruption in the kids’ lives as possible, you might consider trying a bird nesting child custody plan.

Bird nesting has been around for ages and has recently gone through a resurgence, with more and more parents opting for this type of plan, rather than having their kids travel back and forth between two households. The marital home, in essence, is the “nest” part of bird nesting. After your divorce, your children would keep living in the home you all shared during your marriage. You and your ex would create a rotation schedule where each of you has a designated time to live with the kids.

Issues to keep in mind when implementing a bird nesting child custody plan

Evidence suggests that bird nesting helps children cope with divorce because they can stay in the home they’re accustomed to and maintain their usual daily routines. They don’t have to make new friends or go to a new school. And they don’t have to keep track of their homework and shoes and a myriad of other personal belongings between two separate households.

While the sense of normalcy bird nesting provides is beneficial for children who are trying to come to terms with a divorce, it’s important to think about the implications of this kind of child custody arrangement. For example, you’ll need somewhere to live when you’re not living with the kids. You’ll also want to write out terms of agreement for things like household chores and maintenance, mortgage payments and more.

You can split the cost of a secondary residence

To minimize expenses of a secondary residence while you and your ex share the family home as part of a bird nesting child custody plan, you can share a small apartment. If that would make you feel awkward, then each of you can secure your own living arrangements. However, if you get along well and feel okay about using the same residence, it can be more economically feasible than renting on your own or buying a second house.

Bird nesting child custody isn’t for everyone. If you and your ex are constantly at each other’s throats, you might want to explore other options. If you want to try nesting, it is helpful to ask an experienced legal advocate to help you create a written agreement.

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