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Bird Nesting as A Co-Parenting Option

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Aug. 13, 2021

When people are going through a divorce in Illinois and elsewhere, the effects of this difficult and emotionally charged experience are often amplified where there are children. The upheavals that go along with changed schedules, an absent parent and the interruption of daily rituals that connect family members are made worse if the children have to move out of the family home.

For parents whose desire is to focus on the children’s needs at this time, considering all options for co-parenting that will minimize the negative impact of divorce on the family is important. That is why divorce nesting is becoming an attractive option in Illinois and elsewhere.

This kind of arrangement is unusual, so it can be helpful to residents of St. Clair County and Metro East to find out more about co-parenting options when deciding on the best parenting plan for your family’s needs.

When the Parents Visit the Family Home

In a divorce nesting arrangement, also called bird nest parenting, it is the children who live in the family home all the time while the parents take turns living with them as part of a structured parenting plan. While one parent is in the home, the other parent stays in an apartment or other living space, often one in which both parents share maintenance expenses.

This unorthodox model can work as a temporary solution that saves the cost of maintaining individual residences or delays decisions about having to sell the house until the market looks favorable. It can also become a more long-term solution for parents who wish to keep the family together, at least until the children leave home.

Pros and Cons

For the children, there are the enormous benefits of having the stability of home life not disrupted by divorce. While younger children are often more adaptable to significant life events such as divorce, tweens and teens are particularly vulnerable to the effects of divorce, and can manifest their anger, sadness or depression by withdrawing, engaging in risky behavior or losing interest in school. It can also help parents who are having a hard time with the separation.

The lines, however, can get blurred in a nesting arrangement in ways that can actually trigger more arguments than if the parents just split. For an ex-spouse who may have found someone else, there is little room for privacy with this parenting plan. Finally, this arrangement does not define a new chapter in people’s lives, which some people need in order to go on with their lives.