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Divorcing parents: Have you considered nesting?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Custody and Parenting Time |

There’s little question that traditional shared custody arrangements are relatively disruptive for the children in a family. Typically, shared custody arrangements require that the children go back and forth between the homes of their parents. They spend a lot of time traveling and end up exposed to conflict between their parents at custody exchanges.

Children may face a lot of pressure to remember where they left their homework or their favorite pair of sneakers. Traditional shared custody arrangements can be challenging for everyone in the family, especially during the initial adjustment period. However, there are other ways for parents to share custody when they divorce.

Nesting or birdnesting has slowly but surely become a more popular option among parents. While still only used in a small minority of divorce cases, nesting arrangements drastically change how disruptive shared custody arrangements are for the children in a family.

What nesting involves

As the name implies, nesting or birdnesting takes its inspiration from how avian parents care for their young. In a nesting arrangement, parents with shared custody have their children remain in the marital home or family nest. The parents come and go from the family home, while the children enjoy the stability of consistently living in the same location.

The children don’t have to shuttle back and forth between houses, which reduces the stress of frequent travel and the need to track personal property. Nesting arrangements also help ensure that children remain in an environment where they feel safe and have strong social connections. While nesting can sometimes be an expensive solution for shared custody, there are ways to make it cost-effective.

Instead of needing to rent two homes with multiple bedrooms to accommodate their children, parents can potentially enter into shared living arrangements with friends or roommates. The rent for each parent’s separate living arrangement could be far lower in a nesting situation than in a traditional shared custody scenario.

Of course, there are some challenges inherent in a nesting arrangement. For example, the parents may require very elaborate agreements with one another to prevent conflicts. From home maintenance agreements to arrangements for selling the house once the children reach adulthood, there are numerous practical considerations that parents have to address when attempting a nesting custody arrangement.

Although it may take more planning, for some families, including those with special needs children who need school services and stability, nesting custody agreements could be a viable solution to a complex family situation. This is just one example of how exploring various solutions for custody matters may help parents implement the best possible parenting plan given their unique family circumstances.