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Unique child custody option for New Jersey parents

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Divorce

When you filed for divorce, you may have felt like other parents who say they worried their decision would cause disruption and stress in their children’s lives. While there’s no getting around the fact that divorce indeed disrupts family life, it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin it, especially for kids. In fact, there’s a unique child custody option that many parents today are trying, which is known for helping children cope and adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle.

This is “bird nesting.” In this post, you’ll learn how this child custody plan works. You’ll also read about the potential benefits and downsides associated with a nesting arrangement. From there, you may discuss the option with your ex if you’re interested and determine whether it might be a good fit for your family.

Here’s how a bird nest child custody arrangement works

With this type of child custody arrangement, the children live full-time in the marital home that the whole family shared before the divorce. Parents create a rotating schedule and take turns living with the kids. When a parent does not have custody, he or she lives somewhere else. The schedule is customizable, and every family chooses what works best for them. You and your ex can transfer custody every week, every two weeks, every six weeks — whatever you prefer.

Bird nesting is beneficial in several ways

If you were dreading having to navigate the real estate market by selling your home after your divorce, then a bird nesting child custody arrangement can save you the trouble. One of the greatest benefits of nesting is that you don’t have to sell the house. Another benefit is that it minimizes disruption in children’s lives. When they stay in the same house they lived in prior to the divorce, it promotes a sense of normalcy and routine, which are helpful coping mechanisms.

There may be fewer personal items and school things getting lost in the shuffle, as well, because the kids won’t have to transport belongings back and forth between two households. Finally, you and your ex won’t have to choose a neutral location and drive back and forth to transfer custody. The kids will already be “home,” and the two of you will simply move in and out.

What are the downsides of nesting after a divorce?

You must establish a secondary residence, where you’ll live when it’s not your turn to share the house with the kids. Because there is an expense involved, some people consider this a downside to bird nesting. However, paying closing costs and other fees associated with buying a new home would no doubt cost a lot more. There are ways to lower the cost of a secondary residence.

For example, you and your ex (if you get along well enough to do so) can share one residence and split the costs. You would then rotate in and out of that place just as you do at the family home. You can also rent a room in a friend or relative’s house to keep costs low.

Sharing a home might cause false hope

Another potential downside to nesting is that kids may have a false sense of hope that you and your ex will get back together. The memories you made in the house when you were married might stir your emotions and may even make you feel awkward, which could be a downside, as well.

Every set of parents may consider the pros and cons and determine whether bird nest child custody would be in their children’s best interests. If you try it and it doesn’t work out, you can ask the court to approve a different custody plan.