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What Is Bird Nesting, and Can It Work for Your Family?


The most selfish people only think about how divorce and co-parenting will affect them.  They think about how much they will miss their children during their ex’s parenting time, and they worry that their ex will undermine their parenting style.  If you have enough emotional intelligence, though, you will also think about how co-parenting with your ex-spouse will affect your children.  The court assumes that both parents will act in their children’s best interests, regardless of the parents’ marital status, and it will issue court orders to promote this goal.  If you are worried that it will be stressful to move back and forth between your house and your ex-spouse’s, you are not the only one, especially if you did this when you were a child and the result was that neither house really felt like your family home.  The good news is that you can structure your parenting plan in whatever way works best for your family.  Some families even choose an approach called bird nesting, where the former marital residence is a home base for the children, but not for either of the parents.  To find out more about unconventional co-parenting arrangements such as bird nesting, contact a Mississauga child custody lawyer.

Bird Nesting Is a Child-Centered Approach to Co-Parenting

Bird nesting is where the children spend 365 nights per year in the same house where they lived before the parents got divorced.  The parents still have a parenting plan, like all divorced parents do, but instead of the children commuting to accommodate each parent’s court-ordered parenting time, it is the parents who move in and out of the family home depending on whose parenting time it is.  In theory, this makes things less complicated for the children, because they don’t have to worry about which parent’s house is closer to the children’s school or extracurricular activities.

Bird Nesting Is as Emotionally and Financially Complicated as It Sounds

It takes a lot of planning and a lot of emotional maturity to make bird nesting work.  Even though you and your ex don’t live in the house together anymore, you can still get on each other’s nerves by not replacing the toilet paper, leaving a sink full of dirty dishes, or eating the last of the peanut butter without buying a new jar.  For that matter, bird nesting only works if both parents have somewhere to go during the other parent’s parenting time that doesn’t result in two parents paying for a total of three households.  If there are stepparents in the picture at all, they have to be the most understanding stepparents in the world.

In practice, bird nesting is more of a thought experiment, except for the wealthiest people or for families where a child’s medical special needs make it especially difficult for him or her to adjust to two households.  It is, however, worthwhile to spend time in divorce mediation building a parenting plan that does not place unnecessary stress on your children.

Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP About Peaceful Co-Parenting

A family law attorney can help you think outside the box about co-parenting.  Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP in Mississauga, Ontario to discuss your case.




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