Law Office of Lily L. Huang
More Than A Decade Of Family Law Experience

Could a bird nesting living arrangement help your kids?

If your children seem to be taking your impending divorce especially hard or have a history of adjusting badly to life changes, one option to consider is bird nesting. For many families, it works best as a short-term or temporary solution, although some use it longer term. Basically, it is when the children stay in the family home. The parents are the ones who alternate living there.

Of course, this arrangement comes with pros and cons. 

Disadvantages

One major con for many families is that bird nesting can mean paying for three living spaces instead of two or sharing a house and an apartment with your co-parent. However, some families can afford it, and some parents might be able to make do living with a relative or friend if it is temporary.

Another disadvantage is that bird nesting can hinder one or both spouses from moving forward emotionally. For example, if you do not have a place you can call your own, you may feel stunted. Yet another issue can occur when the co-parents do not agree on how to maintain the house. A simple example would be when one parent leaves the house in a mess for the other parent's arrival. Financial issues may also get thorny, and bird nesting works best in amicable divorces.

Advantages

The advantages to bird nesting are that it often gives children stability and can make long-distance arrangements easier. In fact, it can work fairly well long term when the situation is that of a parent flying in or driving in one or two weekends a month. The other parent then moves out of the house for that time period, perhaps going on vacation or getting time in with other relatives. It saves the children, particularly very young children, from having to make long car or airplane trips multiple times a month.

In the short term, it gives children time and space to get used to having their parents one-on-one. When the children eventually do become the ones switching homes, they may be more mentally and emotionally prepared for it.

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