Parents in Virginia who are getting a divorce might have heard about the practice of bird nesting from the TV show “Splitting Up Together,” in which a separated couple uses this child custody arrangement; in addition, actor Josh Lucas has discussed his own bird nesting arrangement in an interview. Bird nesting involves parents taking turns living in a home where the children stay full time. It can be a way to help children ease into the change of divorce, but it does require a good deal of cooperation from parents.
Some parents try nesting and find it is not for them. It generally works best if each parent can afford another place to live. One parent had to sleep on a sibling’s sofa during her weeks off while her ex-husband had ample living space at his parents’ house. She was also unhappy with the condition he left the house in. The two eventually transitioned to the mother living in the home full time with the child.
Nesting may work best as a temporary arrangement, and children should understand that it does not mean parents will get back together. It can be beneficial if a couple is waiting for a lease to come to an end or for the price of a home to go up.
Parents who cannot make a nesting arrangement work because of the cost, because their relationship with one another does not permit it or because it will not work with their schedules should keep in mind that there are many other child custody arrangements that can be good for children. Studies have shown that children benefit from time with both parents even if the routine is somewhat disruptive. When creating a child custody schedule with the help of an attorney, parents should also think about how they will handle holidays and vacations.