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Would 'bird's nest custody' work for your family?

Sometimes parents have to think outside of the box when determining workable custody arrangements. One of the more unusual forms that some families have adopted is know as "bird's nest custody."

It's called that because some species of birds live in the nest and share equally in parenting their babies. With this type of custody, the parents are the ones who move in and out of the family home instead of the children.

Why it can work

Obviously, this type of communal living will not be for everyone. Divorced couples must be on civil terms with one another and respectful of each other's privacy. It's also a better option for couples who have agreed to co-parent rather than situations where one is the custodial parent.

But this child-centric approach can be quite useful. For younger children, it allows them to retain the continuity of a stable home environment. Older tweens and teens may prefer bird-nesting also since they aren't shuttling between two homes. There's no need to fret over whether the soccer shoes or the math book got left at the other parent's house since all of the kids' clothing and possessions remain in a central location.

There can be drawbacks

Parents who are struggling to meet their financial obligations may balk at bird-nesting. They would essentially have to be able to support three households — the nest and two separate houses for days the kids are with the other parent.

Once a parent remarries or enters into a live-in relationship with another partner, they may no longer want to bird-nest. Then, too, this type of custody or parenting plan has to be voluntary on the part of both parents. No Orange County family law court will ever order the parties into such an arrangement.

Will this work for your family?

If you're intrigued by the idea of bird's nest parenting, discuss the possibility with your children's other parent to see if you can reach accord.

Source: Divorce Magazine, "Bird’s Nest Custody: Is It a Good Option for Your Family?," John Griffiths, accessed June 01, 2018

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