When parents are getting a divorce, determining with whom children will live is often one of the hardest decisions that parents must make. What’s more, because divorce can be psychologically damaging to a child, parents are further tasked with mitigating the negative effects of a divorce in whatever way they can.
Some parents have found that a custody arrangement that works well and that is child-centric is that of birdnesting. While birdnesting isn’t for everyone, it is a viable option for many families.
What Is Birdnesting?
Birdnesting refers to a child custody arrangement where the child remains in the family home, maintaining their own bed, clothes, toys, etc., and the parents switch off between spending time in that home with the child. It is very different from the traditional visitation schedule where a child spends a few nights at one parent’s home, and then a few nights at the other’s. Instead of the child changing residences, it is the parents who rotate homes, each spending time living with their child within the family home. In order to make the arrangement work, the parents may co-rent or co-own another apartment or home that they switch off living in depending on who is staying in the child’s home that day/week/month etc.
What Are the Benefits of Birdnesting?
Those who advocate for a birdnesting child custody arrangement claim that its biggest benefit is the lack of disruption in the child’s lifestyle. According to family and relationship psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walsh, who is quoted in an article published by NBC News, the initial shock and trauma of a divorce can be softened by ensuring that a child’s environmental surroundings remain the same, and is only changed by the presence of one parent at a time instead of both parents at the same time.
Of course, there are some other practical benefits to birdnesting, too. For example, when a child stays within the same home, it is easier for them to remain at the same school, maintain the same group of friends, and engage in the same activities that they did prior to divorce. Further, there is no need for kids to lug belongings back and forth between two different homes, making spending time with the child easier. Parents often share costs of the family home and the shared apartment, too, resulting in some financial advantages of birdnesting.
Consult with a Divorce Lawyer to Learn More
Reaching a child custody arrangement that works for everyone is no doubt one of the trickiest parts of a divorce. As you consider the different options available, a birdnesting arrangement is an option you shouldn’t overlook.
At the office of Heather Ward Law, our Boston divorce lawyer is available to discuss the various options with you, and guide you through other elements of your divorce. For a consultation, please call today at (617) 903-8955 or send us a message telling us more about how our law office can be of service.