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Your kids won’t have to move with this child custody plan

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Child Custody |

What would you say if someone told you that you don’t have to uproot your children from their home if you and your spouse decide to file for a divorce? Many people in Texas and elsewhere have stayed in unhappy marriages in the past because they worried that a divorce would cause too much disruption and stress in their children’s lives. However, there’s a unique type of child custody that lots of parents have been trying in recent years. It’s commonly referred to as “bird nesting.”

When you choose bird nesting as a child custody option in a divorce, your children keep living in the family home you and your spouse shared during marriage. This means you don’t have to put the house on the market, which is another potential headache eliminated. Instead, you and your ex will take turns living in the house with your children in a shared custody arrangement.

What are the pros and cons of a bird nest child custody plan?

You might think to yourself, “Why would I want to share a home with my ex when I filed for divorce because I didn’t want to be with him (or her) anymore?” Many parents who have implemented bird nesting after a divorce say there are numerous benefits, including those shown in the following list:

  • This type of child custody arrangement enables your children to retain a sense of routine and normalcy in their daily lives during an otherwise tumultuous time.
  • Your kids can stay in the same school and not have to worry about lugging backpacks, clothing, homework, sports equipment and other personal belongings back and forth between two households.
  • Being in familiar surroundings helps children process their emotions, especially if they’re not coping well with their parents’ divorce.

If you and your ex can work as a team for the sake of the kids, this might be a custody option you’ll want to try. However, it’s always best to consider the potential downsides to a bird nesting plan, as well, before deciding.

Sharing a home with your ex after divorce can feel awkward

Especially if you lived in your marital home for many years, you might have a lot of emotional strings attached to the memories you and your ex made there together. Continuing to live in the house might evoke some strong emotions. Bird nesting downsides might include:

  • It can be awkward, especially if you enter a new relationship and want to bring your new partner to the house.
  • You will have the expense of a secondary residence for the times you are not living with your kids, although there are ways to keep costs low.
  • If you were to remarry, you would probably want to sell the house you shared with your former spouse.

The key to success in bird nesting is to put everything in writing, including who will cover what expenses, do chores, lawn and home maintenance and more. You’ll also want to avoid awkwardness by setting terms for privacy, such as each parent having a separate room in the house that the other parent does not enter. If you want to try a bird nesting child custody plan but are unsure whether it’s a good fit for your family, you can set a deadline and try it on a temporary basis.