Some people in Houston may assume that when it comes to child custody after divorce, the child will inevitably be shuttled back and forth between each parent's house. While this is the norm in Texas, and pretty much everywhere else, parents who are concerned about the upheaval this will cause their child may be interested in an alternative child custody arrangement: bird's nesting.
In a bird's nesting arrangement, the child stays in the family home, and it is the parents who alternate between living in the family home with the child and residing in a separate apartment when it is not their turn. This way, it is the parents that shuttle back and forth, not the child. Some may find that this provides the child with more stability and may make it easier for the child to adjust to the divorce.
Now, bird's nesting will only truly work if each parent is willing to cooperate and co-parent. Also, each parent will have to live close enough to the family home to make the situation work. In addition, parents will need to come to an agreement as to who does what chores while they are in the family home and how the expenses relating to the family home will be taken care of. Also, bird's nesting takes a certain amount of money, as not only might one or both parents be responsible for the mortgage, but they will also have to be able to afford a separate apartment as well. In addition, parents will have to determine where the line will be drawn when it comes to maintaining privacy.
As this shows, while bird's nesting may work for some, those considering it will have to carefully examine their financial situation and their ability to work together post-divorce. It is a unique take on child custody, and parents will have to determine if it meets their child's best interests. Consulting with an attorney may help parents reach a decision that is best for all.
Source: Psychology Today, "'Bird's Nest' Co-Parenting Arrangements," Edward Kruk, July 16, 2013
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