Some New Jersey parents might have heard about a child custody trend known as bird nesting. Its growing popularity is reflected in a sitcom about the arrangement, “Splitting Up Together”, as well as an interview with actor Josh Lucas in which he discussed how it works for him, his son and his son’s mother. With bird nesting, parents who split up keep a home that the children stay in full time while their parents take turns living there.
Certain provisions may increase the likelihood of a successful nesting arrangement. Parents should communicate clearly with one another about their expectations. For example, one factor for two parents who tried the arrangement without success was that one felt the other left housework undone. Another issue those parents had was that while the father was able to stay with his parents and have his own space when he was not in the house, the mother was sleeping on her sister’s couch. Nesting generally works better when both parents have a place of their own.
Nesting can help children adjust to the divorce and prevents them from going through an immediate disruption, but it is important for them to understand that their parents are not getting back together. The arrangement might last while parents wait for their lease term to end or to sell their home.
When a couple splits up because of irreconcilable differences, this does not mean that they cannot co-parent effectively. Nesting may not work for all parents, but there are other arrangements that can ensure that children have time with each parent. Parents could consider living near each other so that it will be easier for children to go back and forth between their homes.