“Birdnesting” is a name for a custody arrangement that some Minnesota parents may want to try. Birdnesting involves the parents keeping the family home and having the children live there full time while each parent lives there part time. Parents might rotate in and out of a small apartment when they are not in the family home. Usually, parents use birdnesting to give their children more stability during or after divorce.
However, some conditions must be in place for this arrangement to be successful. Parents need to be able to get along very well. Experts also advise a short-term arrangement of no more than three to six months. This may be long enough to get to the end of a school year but not so long that children start to think their parents may reconcile. Sharing space can also create volatile situations for parents even if their relationship is amicable, so it is best to limit the duration of the arrangement.
Whether or not parents start with birdnesting, there are many other things they can do to help their children adjust. Overall, there should still be as little disruption as possible to children’s lives. This means keeping them in the same school and making sure they stay in touch with both parents’ families. Parents should strive to keep consistent rules between households and avoid arguing.
Both parents and children may struggle with custody and visitation arrangements after divorce. However, parents might be able to work with their attorneys to negotiate an agreement. If children are old enough, they might want to participate in creating the schedule. Even if parents make an informal agreement, they may want to submit it to court and make it legally binding. This could give each parent more protection if one violates the agreement or stops letting the other parent see the children.