top of page

Kids stay at home while divorced parents rotate!

Recently I had a family member go through a divorce and she was talking about “birdnesting”. Had no clue what she was talking about but after awhile it made sense. They’ve been married for 10 years, the kids only know one house, are accustomed to their rooms, school, lifestyle and “Birdnesting” for them was the logical outcome. It’s a simple solution if you and your ex are realistic, respect boundaries, can work together for the sake of the children and place any and all bitterness aside this is for you.

Custody arrangement can get messy quick during a divorce especially for the children. Among the havoc of parents separating they now need to get accustomed to a new routine of bouncing back and forth between two different homes, which now will be the norm. This doesn't have to be the case if your divorce is peaceful, which is possible and if so, you may be able to incorporate birdnesting. Birdnesting is when the parents, not the children, are doing the bouncing. Birdnesting works best with parents who have an amicable relationship and have boundaries set in place. Birdnesting is put into place to avoid disrupting the everyday lives and schedules of the kids. How it works is that the parents, mom and dad, take turns living with the kids. Essentially mom lives in the house one week and the dad the following and so forth. It is important that both parents have a place of their own when they are flipping their weeks. This will allow you to regroup and have privacy.

This arrangement isn't easy but think of it this way, it's harder on the kids. Wouldn't you want to spare your children from the anguish of bouncing from home to home, staying in school activities, nurturing their friendships, so they are comfortable? This custody arrangement, "birdnesting" or "nesting," because the kids stay in the nest, while the parents come and go, is similar to birds who leave their babies in the nest to gather food. The goal is to give kids stability and save them from the gut wrenching experience of rickoshaying between homes. Birdnesting isn't a new concept but it’s still relatively rare, it’s a new idea/option for the parents to wrap their minds around.

If you can incorporate birdnesting that means you are both willing to co-parent in peace and envision the long run versus what is in the now. Birdnesting brings about friendlier communication during a divorce. When implementing birdnesting in a divorce, couples and lawyers sign a contract agreeing to end the marriage without litigation, it’s an amicable divorce, you have both chosen to co-parent. Novel idea, that both adults are able to act and behave as such and respect one another. While the parents generally alternate visits, there are different variations. Sometimes the whole family remains in the nest together, with the parents in separate bedrooms. Which would get a little messy if you start dating and if you do, the conversation needs to take place with your ex BEFORE you start dating on how you will handle dating. The upside of living in the same home, separate bedrooms is that you may still have dinner together several times a week and share the cooking and cleaning. You may be legally separated or finalizing your divorce and live like roommates, this is possible, given the fact when a marriage is dying you have already living as roommates.

Yes, this is highly untraditional and probably sounds crazy like it did to me at first but the bottom line is your child. Birdnesting isn't for everyone, you can’t make this work if you still have expectations as if you are still married. You should have zero expectation when it comes to you, none. It’s important for parents to understand the disruption that kids often go through in divorce. Parents should walk in their kids’ shoes when making life altering decisions that includes them. My opinion, birdnesting is a great temporary arrangement for the early stage of divorce, or when there are a few months left in the school year or in a tight housing market, where it's tough to sell the family home. If you're considering birdnesting, put an agreement in writing of what is to be expected and accepted. Their will be shades of grey and this is when you need to choose your battles wisely, will this be your hill to die on sort of a case. Good luck, just remember everything you do is for the kids, the more grief you put out towards your ex, you are directly hurting your kids, so stop. It’s always about the children, not you anymore, grow up and take responsibility, be the adult and put your children ahead of your needs.

bottom of page