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What Is “Birdnesting,” And What Are The Pros And Cons?

Although just recently “trending,” this concept of “birdnesting,” or “bird’s nest” co-parenting was actually analyzed by Psychologists years ago. The idea is that, as parents are first getting divorced, instead of having two separate households, they would actually take turns occupying the main residential household so that their child can stay in one spot. This not only prevents the child from having to pack up each week and switch households, but also ensures that they stay within the same community and school district that they’ve always been in. Inevitably, it’s likely to be more inconvenient for the parents themselves, but in retrospect, some parents have noted that it helped their child better transition into the concept of having divorced parents.

According to Psychology Today, this “bird’s nest” co-parenting arrangement is clearly child-centered; rather than have the child adapt to the parents, the parents actually move in and out of the “nest.” In doing so, children arguably experience less disruption in their lives and are better able to stick to previously-established routines, and this arrangement can be temporary or semi-permanent.

For many parents, the concept that their kids will always have that childhood room that’s always theirs is an important factor in choosing to pursue this arrangement.

Pros and Cons

However, birdnesting is not one-size-fits-all: it works best when parents are co-parenting versus one parent serving as a full-time caregiver and typically only if both parents are located close in proximity. It can also get expensive, pending the costs associated with the second (and sometimes third) locations. And if new partners come into the picture, experts recommend handling the situation delicately, as privacy can become an issue.

However, birdnesting can also be less expensive, particularly if the parents find that, instead of needing to purchase two completely separate homes between the two of them, they actually only need one home and, perhaps, one apartment. It can also save money to avoid having to transport a child between two households, as they do not need two sets of everything purchased for each of those locations. The arrangement tends to work best, overall, if two parents are committed to remaining cooperative as they communicate about their child’s needs, as well as dedicated to maintaining consistency to make it all work. Regardless, ground rules must be clearly discussed and respected, and include a co-parenting plan or schedule at the outset.

What about Social Institutions?

Obviously, in order for bird nesting arrangements to work, the courts, legal system, school systems, etc. must support them. You will want to ensure that, in terms of working with an attorney, you not only have an appropriate custody agreement drafted, but an appropriate agreement regarding property arrangements and distribution (as well as maintenance, etc.).

Assistance during Divorce

If you are dealing with divorce, contact us at the office of Sandra Bonfiglio for assistance. We serve families in the Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton areas, as well as Broward County, and we are here to help.

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