One of the most challenging parts of getting a divorce as a parent of young children is determining who will have custody of the children and where the children will live. In order to minimize disruption and trauma to children, some parents choose birdnesting. If you’re thinking about birdnesting during a divorce in Massachusetts, call our experienced lawyer to learn more about your options and whether it’s right for you.
What Is a Birdnesting Parenting Plan?
Birdnesting refers to a parenting plan where both parents agree that maintaining the children in the family home is the best thing for the children. As such, rather than children moving between parents’ homes, the children will remain in the family home and the parents will transition in and out one at a time; the parents usually purchase or rent a condo near the family home that they trade-off sharing.
Pros and Cons of Birdnesting in a Divorce
Birdnesting has both advantages and disadvantages, and may work well for some families but not others.
Advantages of birdnesting
Some of the advantages of birdnesting include:
- Reduced costs—By renting a small one-bedroom or studio apartment, parents can typically save costs collectively. When kids switch homes, it’s usually necessary for both of the homes to be large enough to accommodate them.
- Less emotional trauma for the kids—Divorce is already a huge change for kids. By allowing kids to remain in the home, it’s one less change they have to deal with.
- Improved collaboration between parents—Parents who are birdnesting have to work together, which means enhanced collaboration and communication—another thing that’s great for the children.
Challenges of birdnesting
- Cooperation—If parents don’t have great communication skills or if the divorce was contentious, it can be very difficult to share homes.
- Commingled assets—While there may be financial benefits to birdnesting, it can be difficult for parents who are separated to keep commingled assets.
- Emotional—It can be hard to be around your ex, even if the divorce was mutual.
Other Alternatives to Birdnesting
While birdnesting has some advantages, parents have a lot of options when separating. Many parents choose to do a more traditional 50-50 split where kids move from one parent’s home to another. This is usually preferred when parents live close enough together that transporting kids isn’t a hassle. There are also situations in which one parent has primary custody and the other parent only has custody on the weekends or at other limited periods throughout the year.
Speak with an Attorney About Whether Birdnesting Is Right for You
If you’re not sure if birdnesting is right for you, it’s important that you have this conversation with your spouse and your attorney. Your attorney will help you to consider the financial consequences and other considerations of birdnesting.
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced family law attorney is available for a consultation. Reach out to Attorney Heather Ward today at (617) 903-8955 or online to get started.