Quatela Chimeri, PLLC

Could bird nesting help your children adjust to divorce?

Bird nesting is a relatively recent approach that parents take in divorce. It is most accessible to higher-income parents with more resources, but it is possible in other situations too.

So, what is bird nesting? Basically, the children stay in the family home while the parents rotate out. It can last for just a few months or even a few years. In some cases, it may last until all children are at least 18.

When permanent might be best

A permanent nesting arrangement could work well when one parent lives far away and visits, say, once a month for a weekend or a few times a year for extended stays. This approach means the children do not have to travel often and that the other parent can see them and stay with them throughout the year. When that parent comes into town, the parent the children usually live with can get a hotel room, stay with friends or family, or take a vacation.

Why nesting is normally on a temporary basis

Nesting is often temporary because doing it permanently can be financially prohibitive and keep one or both parents from moving on emotionally. It also gets harder logistically a few years down the road if parents have new romantic partners and new children or stepchildren. Plus, in many cases, parents do live close enough to each other for them to be physically available to their children on a consistent basis.

Nesting in the first few months or year after the divorce allows children to get gradually used to the idea of their parents living separately from each other. The children also have more time to grow accustomed to the knowledge that, at some point, they will live in two different homes.

Even when done temporarily, there are important rules to lay down about nesting. For example, how clean should the house be when the other parent takes over? Who handles the rent or mortgage payments? Are overnight guests allowed? Another consideration is whether the parents will each have a separate off-site residence or rotate in and out of the same second home.


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