Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody is a new concept used by some divorcing parents in the hope of causing as little disruption in their child’s life as possible after divorce.

In bird’s nest child custody, the child/children remain in the family home and the parents spend their visitation time with the children in the children’s home.

Each parent sets up a new residence for him- and her- self, usually a short distance from the nest, and shares a visitation schedule that preserves the security of the familiar family home. The divorcing couple must agree about the length of time the children will remain in the former family home.

Every custody and co-parenting situation is different. In the case of “nesting,” parents may agree to continue the custody, as is, until the youngest child leaves the home or, until one or the other of the parents remarry.

Bird’s nest custody isn’t an option for every divorcing couple because it requires that the divorcing spouses put the child’s needs ahead of their own. The regime does not work for battling spouses who use divorce as a time to sabotage one another. Since many divorced couples refuse to communicate or show respect one another, it is the rare divorced couple that could make the nesting process work for even a short period of time.

Ideally, bird’s nest custody reduces the trauma endured by the children. Ironically, in this situation, both parents experience what the children typically endure: living out of suitcase when the bounce back and forth between Mom’s house and Dad’s house. Nesting is very expensive because it requires three homes instead of two, which is normally the case when divorce occurs. It seems most realistic that the divorcing couple, in the best case can make this work during a very short period of time.

A divorcing couple must communicate with and show respect for the ex-spouse for the well being of the children. This only happens when the divorcing parents are not selfish or immature. The few cases of nesting that are actually working are often with two ex-spouses who get along better than many people who are married, but some couples have made such a success of the regime that others wonder why they divorced in the first place if they can get along well enough to nest. The norm seems to be more of a situation where one or both parents show the children by their actions and words that they are incapable of tolerating let alone communicating with their ex-spouse.

When dating comes into play, it gets even more difficult. Not many men or women would be willing to become involved with the person who is involved so closely with his or her ex-spouse.

Whether faced with difficult financial circumstances, good intentions to maintain the marital home for the benefit of their children, or to maintain a physical stable home for the benefit of the children, nesting is often a residential alternative.

The difficulties with the nesting regime vary greatly and depend on each family’s circumstance. When prioritizing children’s needs in the context of parenting arrangements, the goal is to minimize conflict. After all, divorce is the exit strategy from homegrown relationship conflict.

While considering the nesting routine, parents can analyze and reflect candidly at the sources of conflict in the marriage. If more conflict is created with the nesting alternative, parents can rest assure, that other co-parenting arrangements are available and successfully being implemented.

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