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What is Bird’s Nest Custody?

Sep 9, 2021 Child Custody

Child custody is often one of the most difficult facets of a divorce process and usually involves a lot of emotions from the parents and the children alike. Increasingly, co-parenting advocates are opting for arrangements that aim to be the least disruptive for the minor children. While there are endless ways you can sort out an actual calendar of which parent gets to spend what time with their kids, one option that is becoming increasingly popular is bird’s nest custody. Bird’s nest custody involves keeping the children in the marital home while the parents take turns living in the home and elsewhere depending on the custody schedule they arrange. If you think this might be something you’re interested in exploring, our Irvine family law attorneys can help.

Understanding Bird’s Nest Custody

Arising from the way a bird is raised in a single nest before they fly away, bird’s nest custody treats the family home like a bird’s nest. Rather than selling the home and having each parent find their own new place, in a bird’s nest arrangement, the parents simply come and go according to their agreed-upon arrangement. For example, let’s say Martha and Jim have decided to divorce and will follow a bird’s nest custody arrangement. Martha will be the primary caretaker, but Jim will spend every Wednesday and every other weekend with his kids. Rather than taking the kids to live with him on the days he has custody, Jim will come to stay in the marital home while Martha finds somewhere else to stay during that time. Or, maybe Martha and Jim have a solid friendship, and they both remain in the home during Jim’s custodial time.

The most important thing in a bird’s nest custody arrangement is that it’s an arrangement that works for everyone. Both parents have to agree on this arrangement for a California court to approve it. The benefits and drawbacks, of course, will depend on each family and the relationship between the ex-spouses. 

Benefits and Drawbacks to Bird’s Nest Custody

In principle, bird’s nest custody is a sound approach for ensuring that your children’s lives remain almost the same as they were before. Keeping them in the shared marital home would allow them to stay in the same school, see their friends and neighbors, and maintain activities without disruption. It also eliminates the pain of moving from the home they have grown to know and love. 

On the other hand, bird’s nest custody can make it difficult for former spouses to really move on. For example, imagine one spouse wants to start a new relationship someday; it’d be challenging to envision that their new partner would be totally comfortable with their partner going to sleep at their ex’s home. What’s more, each parent would be forced to relocate on a constant basis, living from one home to the next weekly. It’s certainly not the simplest or most practical arrangement for either parent. It might even get confusing for your children after a while.

Contact Our Irvine Family Law Attorneys to Explore Your Options

Bird’s nest custody isn’t for everyone, but it’s something that should be considered if you’re looking for an alternative arrangement that eases your family into their new normal. Our Irvine family law attorneys have experience with bird’s nest custody and can help you figure it out. Contact our offices today.