The Divorcerer Speaks: Bird Nesting for Co-Parenting in Divorce
What is Bird Nesting? It is a co-parenting, child-centered method that allows the child to remain in the “family home” while each parent takes turns staying in the family home with the children when it is their parenting time. When the parent is not in the family home, they live in a separate dwelling, which dwelling can also be established on their own or rotated with the other parent. This arrangement’s intention is for the child to remain in the family home, with the same routine and comforts as before, rather than the child being the one to adapt to each individual parent’s needs and new homes. This creates a “nest” for the child in an attempt to provide the ongoing safety, security and structure that was provided previously.
Obviously, bird nesting is a unique option in co-parenting that will not work for everyone. There are financial factors to consider in keeping and maintaining a family home while also obtaining one or two additional, separate residences for each of the parents. Further, the parents must live near each other and the family home to facilitate such constant transition in and out of the home for parenting time. The parents must also be able to communicate exceptionally well, for the benefit of the child and in day-to-day maintenance of the family home. Lastly, bird nesting can become very complicated if one party remarries or other children are brought into the new family unit. While bird nesting is an option in co-parenting, it is one that must be considered thoroughly, both emotionally and financially.
Jennifer R. Ward has exclusively practiced in the matrimonial and family law field for nearly 20 years. Furthermore, Ms. Ward is Adjunct Faculty at the John Marshall Law School teaching family law legal drafting to law students and has done so since 2005.