Child custody and visitation: what is bird nesting?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2018 | Family Law

Divorce can be a stressful process for anyone, but it can be even more so for children. Kids oftentimes don’t have any concept that their parents are even capable of breaking up, so the sudden shift in relationship and their own living environment can leave them emotionally and physically changed. Of course, most parents want to prevent this harm as much as possible. One way to do so is to make the process amicable while retaining as much routine as possible.

One way to do this is to engage in “bird nesting.” This phrase refers to a process where parents retain the family home, share the expense of a second residence, and then rotate in and out of the familial home to stay with the children. Therefore, a father may stay with his kids in the familial home for two weeks while the mother stays in an apartment, then the mother will move into the home with the kids for two weeks while the father stays at the apartment.

Many experts believe that this process can keep kids in their routine and ease them into their new lives with parents who reside in different homes. Others, though, think that bird nesting can leave children confused and therefore recommend it only as a stop gap measure until matters can be sorted out. These experts claim that certain issues can actually sour the parents’ relationship and bleed over into how the children view them, such as when one parent talks badly about the other because they discover signs in the familial home that the other parent has a new boyfriend or girlfriend.

Child custody and visitation issues can be handled in a way that protects children’s best interests. After all, that is what a court will be tasked to do. It may take some negotiating and some creative thinking, but by working with a qualified family law professional individuals can reach favorable resolutions that protect their time and their relationships with their children.


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