Most people think of divorce as a clean break of the couple’s relationship, and in most cases, this is true. By the time the divorce is finalized, most couples have long since stopped living together and thinking of themselves as married to each other. Except for co-parenting duties, the relationship the exes had as a married couple is over.
But not every couple wants the traditional two-home child custody arrangement where the kids divide their time with each of their parents. A growing number of divorced parents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are making alternative living arrangements — including sharing the house.
Building a ‘nest’ for the kids to live in
It’s called “birdnesting.” The idea is to maintain a single home for the kids while custody shifts from one parent to the other periodically. While the custodial parent is responsible for the children, the other parent might move into another part of the house (if it is big enough) or a small apartment that the exes split the rent for. The children thus enjoy the stability of sleeping in the same bed every night, taking the same route to school every day, and so on.
Not a long-term solution
Of course, birdnesting is less convenient for the parents, who must maintain two households for themselves. Most divorced parents who practice it do not do birdnesting until the children are 18. In fact, experts do not recommend doing it for more than three to six months. They say it works best as a transition period to soften the shock for the kids that their parents are no longer together.
Customizing child custody for your family
The child custody arrangement that would work for your family depends largely on your individual circumstances. With your divorce attorney’s advice and advocacy, you and your co-parent may be able to develop a plan that both of you can accept and is in your children’s best interests.