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More Divorced Parents Sharing Their Homes in “Birdnesting” Arrangements

When parents divorce, children often have a very difficult time adjusting to their new life, which typically has included splitting time between two different homes. However, more families are opting for a custody arrangement that minimizes disruption for young people and offers potential benefits to parents as well. 

A “birdnesting” plan is a non-traditional co-parenting arrangement where the children remain in the marital home after the divorce while the parents move in and out on a pre-determined schedule. This promotes stability in the children’s lives and eliminates the need to create home environments for sons and daughters in two different residences. While birdnesting will not work in every situation, some divorced parents who have used this form of child custody structure have cited several advantages, such as: 

  • Maintaining routine — Scheduling trips between parental homes around a young person’s schedule of school and extracurricular activities can be very complicated. In a birdnesting setup, visitation does not have to break up your son or daughter’s routine. 
  • Financial savings — With housing costs so high, mothers and fathers might not have the income necessary to pay for two separate homes where their children will feel comfortable. Depending on the situation and relationship between the co-parents, they might wish to share a lower-cost alternate residence or each get a one-bedroom place for themselves.
  • Healthier parental communications — Continuing to share the marital home in some manner requires parents to communicate on a regular basis and might lead to a more equal division of parenting duties.
  • Continuing traditions — One of the trickiest parts of creating a parenting plan is determining where sons and daughters will spend various holidays and family occasions. Through birdnesting, children can continue to spend birthdays and other important events in their home just as they did prior to the divorce. 

Before you commit to a birdnesting arrangement, you should consult with your attorney about whether it would be a good fit. If your relationship is volatile or marked by allegations of substance abuse or domestic violence, continuing to share a home, even at separate times, would likely create additional problems. Many divorces are attributed to financial conflicts, so if there are trust issues over money, a more traditional custody plan might be preferable. 

However, birdnesting can be a successful co-parenting arrangement for divorcing couples who prioritize their children’s well-being, possess strong communication skills and are willing to spend time at two different residences based on a set schedule. Whether you’re considering birdnesting or not, Goldberg Sager & Associates offers exceptional representation to New Yorkers in custody matters and all aspects of the divorce process. To set up a free consultation at our Brooklyn office, please call 718-514-9516 or contact us online.

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    1628 Kings Highway at East 17th Street
    Brooklyn, New York 11229
    Phone: 718-645-6677