The Virginia family court has children’s best interests in mind when it makes decisions regarding parenting when a set of parents has decided to end their marriage. It must resolve many issues, such as how much each parent will contribute financially to cover the children’s needs. Another priority, of course, is deciding where the children will live. In recent years, many parents have been trying out a unique arrangement after a divorce called “bird nest child custody.”
Bird nesting is often an excellent option for parents who want to minimize disruption in their children’s lives when they themselves have decided to divorce. This type of child custody enables kids to maintain a sense of normalcy, structure and routine in their daily lives. The main reason for this is that they do not have to move to a new home or shuttle back and forth between two households.
You’ll share a home with your ex after divorce in this child custody arrangement
A bird nest child custody plan revolves around the family home that the parents shared during marriage. The idea is that, after divorce, the kids keep living in the family home full-time. The parents, on the other hand, create a rotating schedule where each of them takes turns living with the children. When it’s time to transfer custody, one parent moves out and the other moves in.
You won’t have to worry about selling your house
One of the benefits of a bird nest custody plan is that parents who divorce do not have to add “selling the house” to their list of divorce tasks. If you’re going to be sharing the family home with your ex, however, you’ll want to work out financial plans for mortgage payments, home maintenance, food and other recurring expenses. Another important issue to resolve is determining where you will live when it’s not your turn to live with the kids.
You can acquire a private residence or share the cost of a small apartment with your ex and rotate living in and out of it the same way you take turns with the marital home. Whatever arrangement works best for you is fine.
Possible downsides to bird nest child custody arrangements
If you and your ex have a contentious relationship, a bird nest plan might not be the best option for your family. This custody style is more effective in families where the parents get along and can work as a team. Here are a few more possible downfalls that may arise in a bird nest plan:
- Kids might develop a sense of false hope that parents will reunite.
- Discord may arise regarding lifestyles or issues, such as one parent using the last garbage bag and not buying more.
- Continuing to share the home that was yours in marriage may be emotionally difficult.
- New romantic relationships and bringing guests to the house can be awkward.
With thorough discussion and careful planning, you can resolve most of these issues, such as by incorporating details for use of household items and grocery shopping into your written agreement. You can also lay ground rules and set boundaries regarding privacy or new relationships.
Set a deadline and try it out
If you’re not sure whether a bird nest child custody plan would work well in your family, you and your ex can agree to try it for a limited time. If it’s not working out, or if any other child custody issues arise after your divorce, you can seek legal guidance and support to help resolve the issue.