Bird’s Nest Custody: Is This a Good Arrangement for the Family?

parent hugging a child
Share this post

Usually, in a divorce, the kids are left at the losing end. Many studies already illustrate how it can significantly impact almost every aspect of a child’s life all the way to adulthood.

For this reason, both parents and the court work out the best way to handle their living arrangements with the help of a divorce attorney. One of the growing options is called bird’s nest custody.

What’s Bird’s Nest Custody?

Bird’s nest custody is a type of custody where the kids live in one house while the parents rotate out. The concept comes from the analogy of a bird’s nest, where the babies rest in one place while their parents go out to hunt food.

For decades, parents were left with a few options with custody:

  • Full physical custody is where one parent is awarded the right to have the child for half of the year.
  • Partial physical custody, which is divided time between parents

In a bird’s nest arrangement, the children live in one property, often the house where they grew up or the one previously shared by the couple. Then the ex-spouses plan their schedule.

For example, the mother works in the morning while the father stays in the house until the ex-wife comes back. The dad then goes back to his new house. It could also be that each will stay with the children over prolonged periods like a few days or weeks. It all depends on what the parents agree when it comes to custody.

The Benefits of Bird’s Nest Custody

a child smiling

As bizarre as the arrangement seems, it offers a couple of benefits to both kids and parents:

1. It Allows Parents to Work with Peace of Mind

One of the reasons for the popularity of this type of custody is the increased number of single parents, especially mothers, joining the workforce. A New York Times report shared that nearly 3 million people working now are single mothers.

With bird’s nest parenting, mothers and fathers can work and take care of their lives without worrying about what’s going on with the kids. If they’re working, they know their children are in a safe place.

2. It Provides a Lot of Stability for Kids

Some experts believe that bird’s nest custody is ideal for kids as it provides stability. Divorce is just as stressful, if not worse, for the children. The little ones, for example, might not immediately understand why one of the parents couldn’t live in the same house anymore.

Bird’s nesting allows children to experience less separation anxiety. It can also lessen the need to adjust to a new environment. They don’t need to live in a separate community, go to a different school, look for new friends, etc.

3. This Custody Puts Less Stress on Kids’ Relationships with Parents

One of the biggest worries for children is losing their relationship with one parent, especially if they live with them full-time. They worry about their other parent not having enough time or energy for them, which causes emotional suffering.

When both parents can maintain a steady relationship with kids, there’s less stress on the children to choose one parent over the other.

What Parents Should Consider

Bird’s nest custody is meant to provide benefits for everyone involved. But it’s not the holy grail for divorced parents. For it to work, they need to consider the following:

1. Legal Rights Should Be Resolved First

If one parent is awarded full custody, it means they make all the decisions for the child. That includes medical and educational choices. So if you live with your ex but can’t make these decisions without their approval, bird’s nest might not be right for you.

2. Both Parents Need to Agree

If both parents don’t want the same custody arrangement, they won’t work together. This is especially true if one parent doesn’t want to spend as much time with the kids as the other does.

It might seem like it would be easier for you (or your spouse) to live in a different house from your children. But being away from them most of the time will only make you miss them more, and that’s a vulnerable place to be in.

3. Parents Need Flexibility in Their Schedules

If you’re constantly busy with work or family commitments, it’s going to be hard for you to meet with your kids at their other homes.

Bird’s nest custody works best if the parents have flexible schedules, which allow them to meet up whenever they need to. If you can’t be around as often as your ex is, it might not be worth your time and energy.

The best way to approach bird’s nest custody is to look at it as a last resort. It can be an effective solution for divorced couples who don’t want to give one of the parents full custody of their children. It also allows them to work without constantly checking in with each other about their kids’ whereabouts.

But bird’s nest needs to be implemented in the right way. The parents should agree with it, or there will be problems with communication. They need to have flexible schedules for them to meet up when they need to. And lastly, they need to see this as a long-term solution instead of just something that would work for now.


Share this post
Scroll to Top