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“Bird Nesting” What’s The Buzz About, And Is It Right For Your Family?


Divorce is hard for all of the parties involved. From the very beginning, parents have recognized that children can pay a disproportionately high price when their parents’ marriage dissolves. Their young minds have to come to terms with their parents no longer being together, and will very likely have to leave their family home. This may necessitate a change in schools, change in routine, loss of friendships; generally speaking, they are posed to lose a lot.

No matter their own heartache at the loss of their marriage, parents recognize the toll the divorce may have on their children. Accordingly, many parents do whatever it takes – including adopting unconventional methods – if they believe it may help their children come out of the divorce unscathed and well-adjusted.

Enter: “Bird Nesting” (or simply “nesting”) co-parenting agreements. In Bird Nesting arrangements the children are not taken back and forth between their parents’ homes. Instead, the children remain in the family home and the parents come and go, in accordance with their custody arrangement/parenting plan. When a parent is not staying in the family home each parent lives in their own separate home. Alternatively, parents may choose to switch off staying in one space. For example, parents could switch off who stays in a one bedroom apartment that is occupied by one parent while the other parent takes their turn staying in the family home.

Benefits of Bird Nesting

Because the children are staying in their home environment, the disruption of the divorce can be kept to a minimum. They largely retain their surroundings and routine – this can help kids maintain stability, even if their parents are going through a divorce.

A nesting arrangement could be less expensive. If both parents share the cost of financing and maintaining one small apartment and the family home, it may be less expensive than paying to maintain two residences large enough to house the whole family. Alternatively, if both parents feel they need their own space, a nesting arrangement could be more expensive as the family finances will have to stretch to cover the existing family home as well as two separate spaces for the divorced parents.

Drawbacks of Bird Nesting

As touched on above, nesting can be expensive if the family has to now maintain and finance three living spaces. In addition, a nesting arrangement requires the divorced parties to interact with one another on a frequent basis, often in a much more intimate way than would typically follow in a divorce (for example, when staying in the family home would both parents still use the primary bedroom? Would they share a bathroom?) Particularly if a divorce has been acrimonious, privacy issues or sharing a space in general – even if your ex-spouse is not there when you inhabit the space – could be a major concern. This is particularly true if one or both parents begins a new relationship and begins bringing that partner into the shared space.

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

Figuring out how to best maneuver your family through a divorce is challenging. The skilled and experienced attorneys at Fort, Holloway & Rogers have helped many families navigate through the tempestuous intricacies of divorce, and know of unique solutions that can help. Contact one of our dedicated Franklin divorce lawyers today to discuss your case.


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