Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Can "bird's nesting" be a feasible child custody arrangement?

Parents in Orange County may assume that after a divorce, each of them will have their own separate households, and the child will travel between the two during custody and visitation periods. Indeed, that is the general picture of child custody in our nation. However, there is one other living arrangement divorced parents may want to consider: bird's nesting.

A bird's nest custody arrangement centers mainly on the child. In a bird's nest arrangement, it is the child remains in the family home and it is the parents who rotate between living with the child and having their own place. Its aim is to avoid disrupting a child's life too much and to provide the child with the stability he or she needs. This will ensure that the child will not have to be shuttled back and forth between two new homes.

There are some things to keep in mind with bird's nesting, however. First of all, to make the arrangement feasible, both parents will have to live relatively near to each other and the family home. In addition, bird's nesting works better if the parents share physical custody via co-parenting, rather than one parent being the full-time caregiver and the other parent only having visitation periods. Parents also need to make sure they can afford both keeping up the family home along with maintaining one or two other residences as well.

Bird's nesting may work well for parents who can detach their parenting responsibilities from the issues in their marriage that led up to their divorce. It entails a certain amount of cooperation and communication, to stay abreast of both the child's needs and the household needs. If parents cannot remain at least cordial, if not peaceful with each other, bird's nesting may not work.

Bird's nesting arrangements may be good for children because it allows them to keep with the same home, school and neighborhood they are used to, even after their parents divorce. Bird's nesting also allows children to spend meaningful time with both parents.

That being said, bird's nesting is unique and may not be for everyone. Parents interested in bird's nesting after a divorce may want to first discuss the issue with a legal professional, who can explain their options with both the parent's and child's best interests in mind.

Source:, "'Bird's Nest' Co-Parenting Arrangements," accessed on Aug. 24, 2016

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