Bird's Nesting in Custody Cases

Stange Law Firm, PC

Child custody matters can present some interesting dilemmas. One concern of many about child custody cases is the fact that kids often have to travel back and forth between the parents’ homes.

Many become concerned that it is harmful for the kids to be on the go between the homes of the parents. Historically, many courts would tilt toward keeping children to a custody case in one home predominately more than the other to alleviate this concern. The kids would often go to the non-custodial parent’s home every other weekend, a night during the week and additional time during the summer and the holidays.

With the rise of shared parenting, kids often have to go back and forth between the parents regularly. It might even be that custody exchanges happen as much as two or three times a week. This can cause some parents and courts some concern.

One idea that is sometimes is thought about is the concept of a “bird best.” A bird’s nest is where the children remain in one home at all times. Instead of the children traveling back and forth between the home of the parents, the parents are the ones that do the traveling back and forth.

Ultimately, what this results in is three homes in most circumstances. This means that each parent has their own separate home. There is then a separate home for the children known as the “bird’s nest.” The children stay in the “bird’s nest.” The parents then go back and forth between the “bird’s nest” and their separate home.

Some argue that this situation is preferable to the children having to be on the move between the parents’ home. In other words, they get the stability of being in one home. They do not have to pack their bags to travel back and forth.

On the other hand, critics would argue that having three homes can be expensive and not affordable for most parents. Thus, a bird’s nest custody may not work where the parties’ finances cannot support it.

Another concern is where the parents do not get along and are unable to co-parent. This can create an uncomfortable situation where divorced or unmarried parents who are not together have to maintain a “bird’s nest” together. All kinds of disputes can arise between how the house is decorated and maintained to how the bills are paid.

Where the parents are re-married and there are half or step-siblings, there are other potential complications as well. Either these kids have to be on the move with their parent into the “bird’s nest” or else they wouldn’t see their step or half-siblings.

Either way, bird’s nesting is a concept that is being floated in more custody cases than ever before. While there are certainly some criticism of it, it is one custody arrangement to keep in mind as a possibility in family law matters.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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