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Birds-nesting: a unique child custody arrangement


Parents in Minnesota divorce may decide that they want to share joint custody of their child. If this is the case, they may assume that the child will have two homes, one with each parent. However, some find that the constant back-and-forth between households is hard on the child and hard on the parents. Therefore, some may choose a more unique child custody arrangement: birds-nesting.

In this arrangement, the child will stay in the family home the whole time. Instead, it is the parents who will take turns living in the family home with the child. When it is not their turn, they will live in a nearby apartment or home. It is hoped that such an arrangement will provide more stability to the child, who does not have to sleep in two different beds at different times of the week or month.

To make such an arrangement feasible, parents must be on good terms with each other, despite the divorce. There needs to be ground rules regarding household chores that make it fair to each parent. It takes a certain modicum of thoughtfulness.

Some therapists express concern that birds-nesting will keep a child from moving on from the divorce, but some families find it works to the benefit of all. It allows each parent to spend quality time with the child in a stable and often loved environment.

That being said, it is an unusual arrangement. Parents who are considering it may want to make sure they can make it work, to avoid further tension between themselves and stress on the child.

Source: WSJ.com, "When Parents Divorce, the Children Get the House," accessed on Oct. 26, 2016

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