Often, when parents are awarded joint custody of their children, the children must travel from one home to the other home. Although some kids adapt to this change quickly, others may struggle getting used to having two homes, especially at a time filled with so many other changes. However, parents often do not realize there is an alternative.
‘Birdnesting’ is a co-parenting arrangement that can allow your children to stay in the marital home. Instead of your children alternating houses, you and your former spouse will alternate staying in the marital home and staying in an apartment. Each parent stays in the marital home when he or she is caring for the children and then stays in an apartment when not caring for the children.
Birdnesting can help kids adjust to divorce
Divorce is often a stressful time for everyone in the family, and it often comes with many changes for children to get used to. Birdnesting allows the children to stay in a stable environment with minimal disruption, which can help ease the transition into some of those changes. It also allows the children to maintain ongoing relationships with both parents during this time.
Birdnesting is not appropriate for all families
However, there are some downsides to birdnesting as well. Often, parents cannot afford to each have an apartment while sharing use of the marital home, so parents share use of a single apartment that they occupy at separate times. Sharing two living spaces with an ex-spouse is ripe for disagreements, so the birdnesting process may not be a good choice long-term. It may also not be a good choice at any point if you and your former spouse experience a high level of conflict.
Birdnesting is not a good choice for every family. However, if you and your former spouse are on good terms, birdnesting can help your children transition gently to post-divorce family life.