Is a ‘birdnesting’ parenting arrangement worth trying?

“Birdnesting” is a relatively new type of co-parenting arrangement that does not involve children bouncing back and forth between two houses. Instead, parents are the ones to travel between homes.

If you are a parent going through divorce, you might consider trying a birdnesting arrangement. However, it can be helpful to try to anticipate potential problems with this type of arrangement, so you and your ex-spouse can take steps to avoid unnecessary challenges.

How does a birdnesting arrangement work?

In a traditional co-parenting arrangement, each parent has his or her own home and their children will spend time at each house according to the custody schedule. However, in a birdnesting arrangement, the children stay in the marital home and the parents will take turns caring for the children in the marital home according to the custody schedule.

This arrangement can be beneficial because it limits the amount of change children must cope with at one time. It can provide a gradual transition for children to get used to their parent’s divorce without needing to cope with a new house and potentially a new school.

What difficulties are associated with birdnesting?

Cost can be one difficulty with a birdnesting arrangement. Sometimes it is not cost-effective for a family to own three homes, so parents might share an apartment which they occupy at separate times. In this scenario, a parent would only occupy the apartment when the other parent is with the children.

However, sharing one or two living spaces with an ex-spouse can lead to trouble. It can lead to many of the same types of arguments parents tried to avoid by getting divorced. Also, when parents begin dating other people, a shared space can encourage even more arguments.

Because of the potential for conflict, birdnesting is not an appropriate choice for every family. Although birdnesting can be beneficial for your children, it may only be possible if you and your spouse part amicably. Even then, it may be most successful as a short-term arrangement.