Photo of Ian F. Mann
Photo of Ian F. Mann

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What is bird nesting, and is it right for our divorcing family?

Creating a new life after divorce is challenging, but approaching parenting after divorce may be one of the most difficult aspects for many families. Not only must you get used to single parenting, but you also must figure out what the day-to-day mechanics will look like with joint custody.

There are many ways to manage a post-divorce parenting situation. Some families are opting for alternative living situations to help ease the transition. According to Psychology Today, one of these alternative living situations is “bird nesting,” called such due to its similarity to parent birds taking care of babies in a nest.

What is it?

In a typical post-divorce joint custody situation, the parents set up two separate homes and the children move between the homes as per the custody schedule. However, frequently moving children may cause a lot of friction, particularly with teens. Children with special needs might be dangerous to move too often, as the risk of forgetting vital medications or medical assists is high.

With bird nesting, the children stay in a family home 100% of the time. Instead, it is the parents who move in and out of the family home as per the custody schedule.

Is bird nesting a permanent arrangement?

It can be. However, it is more common for bird nesting to be semi-temporary. For instance, you may choose to bird nest for a while to get used to single parenting and provide your children with as much stability as possible during your divorce. If you have teens, you may decide to bird nest until they graduate high school. At this point, you may then decide to dissolve the family home.


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