If you’re one of many California parents who are considering or have recently filed for a divorce, you no doubt are thinking of the future. You know this decision will affect your children. However, children often adapt well to a new lifestyle if there’s not a lot of parental conflict. Many parents in this state and across the country have implemented a unique child custody plan known as “bird nesting.” It has been beneficial for their children in several ways.
For bird nesting to work, you and your ex must be able to work together as a team. If you argue whenever you see each other in person or correspond by phone, then this type of child custody arrangement is probably not the best option for your family. It might be something to consider, though, if you both feel like you can interact peacefully in a shared custody arrangement that enables your children to keep living in the family home you shared during your marriage.
A child custody plan that promotes normalcy and routine in children’s lives
Many kids experience high levels of stress when their parents divorce and they must move to a new town or go to a new school. A bird nesting child custody arrangement helps minimize stress because the kids stay right where they are, following their parents’ divorce. If you were to choose this custody option, your children would live in your marital home, and you and your ex would take turns living there with them.
The pros and cons of bird nesting
One of the greatest benefits of bird nesting after divorce is that your children won’t have to shuttle back and forth between two households. Many families struggle when kids forget homework or backpacks or other important items at one parent’s house or the other when two households are involved. Bird nesting also enables children to stay in familiar surroundings as they learn to adapt to the shift in family dynamics that a divorce brings. It provides stability during times of uncertainty. Another benefit of bird nesting is that you don’t have the hassle of selling a house.
Potential downsides of a bird nest custody arrangement include parents having to rent or buy secondary residences for themselves when it’s not their turn to live with the kids. You and your ex might consider sharing the cost of a studio apartment near the family home. Sharing your former marital home with your ex after a divorce (even if you’re not living there at the same time) can be awkward at times and evoke feelings of nostalgia that may be difficult to process as you strive to move on in life without each other.
If it doesn’t work, you can choose another child custody option
If you think it’s something you might want to try, you can create a plan and set a deadline to determine whether it’s working well for your family. It’s best to have a Plan B in mind ahead of time, so you can convert to a new child custody plan as smoothly and swiftly as possible if you determine that bird nesting is not a good fit for your family.