“Birdnesting” or “nesting” is a unique post-divorce parenting model where the kids stay in the family home (the nest) and the divorced parents rotate in and out according to a predetermined custody schedule.
Nesting is attractive for a lot of reasons. Chief among them: There’s less disruption to your children’s lives due to the divorce. They don’t have to worry about moving to a new home, changing schools, being ferried back-and-forth between households and more. For young children and those with special needs, this can provide a sense of normalcy and stability that might otherwise be lacking after their parents’ divorce.
Is this model of co-parenting right for you? Here are the things to consider:
Do you have the financial resources to pull this off?
Nesting isn’t cheap. The more affluent you are, the easier it is to manage. You and your co-parent will have to continue to pay for the home your children live in — and all the associated costs that go with it — while also maintaining your own separate residences for your “off” times.
Do you have the emotional resources you need?
Nesting also requires a high degree of emotional maturity on the part of both parents to work. Unless you and your co-parent are very good about setting and respecting boundaries, you may end up arguing over everything from housekeeping chores to bedtime schedules.
Do you have a plan to end the arrangement later?
Nesting also tends to be a short-term solution — not something that will last until the kids leave home. Eventually, both you and your co-parent may get involved with other people, and that could make rotating in and out of the old family home very awkward, at best. No conversation about nesting is complete unless you address how it will end.
Nesting isn’t a bad idea, and it can work for some parents, but custody arrangements are meant to evolve with the changing needs of your family. Don’t be afraid to explore all of the possibilities and seek legal guidance whenever necessary.