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Is bird-nesting a viable custody strategy?

You know that you're not going to feel happy about any child custody strategy when you and your spouse split up. Even if you feel good about splitting your time with the children -- you know it is important for them to see both parents -- you can't change the fact that they face a lot of turmoil. They have to move to two new houses, jumping back and forth between them. They may lose their friends, neighbors and even schools. It's certainly not ideal.

If you worry about this, one potential solution is bird-nesting. It's worth considering, as it may solve your problems without cutting either parent out of the kids' lives.

What is it?

Bird-nesting is simple. The kids don't move. You do. You and your spouse set up a rotation to move in and out of the home.

For instance, you both rent apartments near the house. The children stay, and you live with them for the first week. Your ex lives in his or her apartment. At the end of the week, you move into your apartment and your ex moves into the house. It continues like this until the children grow up and move out of the house.

The home is your nest. It's your base. It's a place where the kids can feel confident and secure.

Remember, children value the patterns and routines in their lives. Your son doesn't want two sets of toys. Your daughter loves her bedroom. Both of your children like their schools and have close bonds with their classmates.

Moving is normal for many adults, but it is a huge deal to kids. It's jarring and upsetting. Nesting protects them from that.

What are the downsides?

Nothing is perfect. There are some downsides. For one thing, you and your ex continue to share that same house, so you have to deal with one another on a fairly close basis. If you feel frustrated that your spouse doesn't clean up enough around the house, for instance, that's going to continue being a problem after the divorce.

The main downside, for many couples, is money. In the situation outlined above, you -- as in you and your ex -- need to rent two apartments and still pay the mortgage on your family home.

That's why bird-nesting is perfect in a high-asset divorce. You do not worry about the cost. You worry about the children. What makes their lives the best after you split up? If that's your focus, bird-nesting may be the solution.

Your options

As you can see, it is important to carefully think over every option you have during divorce. Put your children first and make sure you know your rights.

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Mohajer Law Firm, APC

Mohajer Law Firm, APC
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