Are you and your spouse transitioning to parenting your children separately as you go through the divorce process? It may not be as simple as one person moving out and starting to share parenting responsibilities across two homes.
It can take some time for divorcing spouses to sell their family home and for each of them to be able to afford their own place. Sometimes, parents simply don’t want to disrupt their children’s lives any more than necessary, especially if there’s just a short time left in the school year.
For these and other reasons, co-parents may temporarily adopt a custody arrangement referred to as “birdnesting.” This involves the children remaining in the home and the parents taking turns living there with them.
While this arrangement allows spouses to be separated, it still requires that they work together to minimize complications and confusion for their kids and themselves. It also requires that both spouses have somewhere else to live when they’re not in the home – such as a relative’s or friend’s home.
Codifying the rules
It’s usually wise to put some type of agreement in place regarding how household expenses and maintenance responsibilities will be shared. You’ll need a temporary parenting plan that details things like the schedule for when each parent will live in the home.
It’s also important to make sure that your kids are clear on why you have this arrangement. You don’t want to give them false hope that you’re getting back together. This can be more of a problem for younger children than for older ones.
Birdnesting is certainly not a workable custody arrangement – even as a short-term solution – for every couple. However, if it is the best solution for you in the short term, make sure you have legal guidance as you work out your birdnesting agreement.