Is Bird’s Nest Parenting for Us?

There is a new trend in child custody arrangements that is slowly gaining popularity in the United States -- though it does not seem to be catching on as quickly as some would hope. Bird's nest parenting is a model of shared parenting time that some divorcing and divorced parents are finding works for them -- and most importantly -- for their children.

How nesting works

When parents are divorcing, one of the marriage partners moves out and establishes a separate residence. Children move between the parents' homes according to a time frame and schedule that is either established by a court or agreed upon by the parents. In a nesting situation, the children stay put and the parents take turns as the parent in residence for a specified length of time. The parents either establish separate living quarters within the family home or set up a very modest second residence elsewhere and take turns living in it.

Advantages of nesting

For children, the benefits of nesting are abundantly clear:

  • Children remain in their familiar surroundings without being uprooted
  • Children enjoy the presence of both parents equally
  • The lifestyle of children remains virtually unchanged

There are advantages for parents as well, including that the forced proximity makes conflict resolution a necessity rather than a goal. Also, nesting eliminates the need to negotiate custody issues, and may even make child support irrelevant. At the very least, it redefines the post-divorce identity of single parents -- no parent shares or has custody, each parent continues to be a parent to his or her children.

What's the downside?

As a temporary measure employed to ease the transition into a restructured family, there do not seem to be many disadvantages to nesting. In some cases, it may work as a long-term solution, particularly if the couple owns a large house that can be divided up easily. Clearly though, nesting couples sacrifice privacy and may not be able to establish a new relationship while still so enmeshed with their ex-spouse.

If you are divorcing, speak to a divorce attorney in the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins in the Bloomfield Hills area. We can assist you in establishing custody and parenting-time arrangements suitable for your family's needs.