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Philadelphia Family Lawyer > Blog > Family Law > What is Bird Nesting? A New Approach to Custody

What is Bird Nesting? A New Approach to Custody


Bird nesting is a novel approach to custody that puts the children’s needs first. Instead of children visiting parents at different homes, the children get to keep the home and the parents rotate in and out of it. In other words, when it’s one parent’s time to visit, the parent does so in the family home. Typically, the parents will have their own apartments or an apartment that they share when it’s the other parent’s turn to visit the children.

The concept gets its name from the manner in which birds raise their offspring. Bird parents will take turns leaving the nest to gather food for their babies. The other parent will stay with the chicks to ensure they are safe.

Benefits of birdnesting 

There are several benefits to allowing the children to keep the home. While many of these benefits are geared toward the children’s stability, the parents also receive some benefits from the process. Potential benefits of birdnesting include:

  • Emotional stability for the children – Birdnesting provides stability for the children who remain in a single environment even after their parents divorce. Maintaining a stable environment allows them to maintain their routines and have consistent access to both parents. This stability helps alleviate anxiety related to the divorce and offers security during a difficult period.
  • Financial benefits of birdnesting – Birdnesting helps reduce expenses for the parents. If the parents elect to have a single apartment where they stay when it is not their turn to visit the children, it can help minimize expenses related to rent, moving, utilities, and furniture. Divorce is often a financially burdensome time. Birdnesting is more cost-effective than maintaining, supplying, and paying for two separate households.
  • Simplifying shared custody agreements – Birdnesting eliminates the need for the children to move back and forth. This can simplify the efforts the parents make to transport children to their ex’s place of residence. It also encourages parents to communicate effectively about their children’s needs.

Disadvantages of birdnesting 

Birdnesting requires a high degree of cooperation between the parents. Embittered parents who are in conflict will find it difficult to maintain a birdnesting arrangement. While the children will remain in a stable environment, the parents will lose much of the stability of a sedentary home. If parents are sharing a secondary residence, there will be a lack of privacy when it comes to new partners and shared spaces. Conflicts can arise over housekeeping and other matters. If one parent feels like they’re cleaning up after the other, it may lead to disputes. In some cases, birdnesting may become financially burdensome. While it reduces the expenditures in the short term, the parents will need to maintain a separate apartment and share the costs related to that apartment.

While birdnesting isn’t for everyone, it is an option that is currently gaining in popularity.

Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Today 

The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of divorcing couples in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Call our Philadelphia family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin going over your options right away.

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