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Is bird’s nest parenting a custody option for you?

Divorce can be traumatic for all involved, but most particularly, for the children. They can wind up destabilized and regress to earlier behaviors that are not age-appropriate.

While you might not have heard the term, bird’s nest parenting is an alternative custody arrangement for some divorcing couples. Its origins stem from the male and female birds that fly in and out of the nest while tending to their young.

With this type of custody arrangement, the adults share the family home, allowing the children to have the continuity of living in the same home while their parents take turns shuttling in and out of the house during their designated custody time with the kids.

It works well for certain families

If you still have a decently civil relationship with your ex, your family might be a good fit for bird’s nest parenting. Parents of special needs children sometimes opt for this nontraditional type of custody because the equipment their children require (like Hoyer lifts) can be cost-prohibitive to duplicate in two homes.

Other families might not be such a good fit

If or when either parent has begun a relationship with another partner, it may no longer be comfortable or even practical to practice bird’s nest parenting. It can also be quite expensive, as the former spouses will be supporting three households.

The co-parents must also be willing to work together to make bird’s nest parenting work. They must establish and adhere to specific house rules so one parent doesn’t wind up doing all the housework while the other gets a free pass.

Courts won’t order this arrangement

Massachusetts family law courts will never order this type of custody. But when the parties agree to give it a go, most courts will sign off on consent judgments. If you would like to explore this option, learning more about your parental rights and responsibilities is advisable.