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Attorney Carrie Wilcox

The pros and cons of bird’s nest custody

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2022 | Child Custody

Divorcing parents who want a custody agreement that focuses on their minor children sometimes have to think outside of the custody box. Since custody decisions are typically the hardest to hammer out in contested divorces, let’s look at one unconventional solution.

Bird’s nest” parenting plans are very child-centric because they eliminate many of the stressors kids face when moving between two parents’ households. Rather, the parents are the ones who spend their time with the kids in the family home, then leave when it’s their ex’s turn to assume custody.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these arrangements?

There are trade-offs with all custody plans, of course. But this type of arrangement requires a two-way street of civility and flexibility. Not all divorced spouses are capable of rising above their differences to make this work. But when it does, it can be the best choice for the whole family. Some additional pluses include:

  • In volatile real estate markets, the sale of the home is postponed until more optimal times
  • Kids get to stay in their home, neighborhood and school
  • There’s no need to duplicate expensive items like computers, sports equipment or medical devices for special needs kids
  • There are fewer inconsistencies with household chores and rules

Now, let’s look at the downside of bird’s nest custody:

  • It might be prohibitively expensive if the parents support three homes instead of two
  • When new partners enter the mix, it can become too awkward to continue
  • One or both parents might need the revenue from the sale of the house
  • The lack of privacy can be daunting with an ex’s access to your personal space

As you can see, there is a lot to weigh before deciding.

Would this arrangement work for your family?

This is the question only the parents can answer, as all families’ needs differ. If you would like to give this a try nontraditional custody arrangement, your family law attorney can submit it to the court.