Is a bird nest child custody plan right for you?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Family Law |

Ohio law allows parents to negotiate terms of agreement regarding the care and support of their children when they decide to divorce. You can craft an agreement on your own, then seek a court order to finalize it. You can also ask a family court judge to make decisions on your behalf if you and your ex are unable to resolve child custody issues.

There are many options available for devising a custody plan. One such option, known as bird nesting, has seen a resurgence in recent years, perhaps influenced by numerous celebrities who implemented this type of arrangement in their divorce and spoke publicly about the benefits. It’s not for everyone, though, so you’ll want to weigh the potential benefits against the downsides to determine if it might be a good fit for your family.

How does bird nest child custody work?

Before discussing the pros and cons of a bird nest child custody arrangement, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how it works. If you and your ex agree to a bird nest plan, your children will continue to live in the house you all shared during your marriage — the family home. You and your ex will take turns living there with them.

Benefits of bird nesting

Parents who have tried bird nesting after divorce often say that there are several benefits to the arrangement, including those shown in the following list:

  • Helps children maintain a sense of normalcy and routine during an otherwise disruptive time in their lives
  • Kids don’t have to travel or cart belongings back and forth between two households
  • Parents who are adapting to a new lifestyle after divorce don’t have to worry about selling a house
  • May help reduce post-divorce expenses

In the long run, a bird nest child custody plan may help newly divorced parents save money. You, of course, will need somewhere to live when it’s not your turn to stay with the kids. However, you might consider renting a studio apartment, then splitting the cost with your ex, so that the two of you rotate turns at the residence, just like you do at the family home. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, you can rent your own place or stay with a relative or friend when you are not staying with your children.

Downsides to this type of custody arrangement

Even with great ideas, there are typically always potential downfalls. For parents who choose bird nesting after divorce, these are potential downsides:

  • Might give children a false sense of hope that you and your ex will reunite
  • Could be awkward if one or both of you enters a new relationship
  • Terms of agreement needed regarding household expenses, maintenance, parenting duties and more
  • Doesn’t work well if the parents don’t get along well

If any of the issues shown in this list cause you concern, you might want to explore other child custody options instead of a bird nest plan.

You can try a bird nest child custody plan on a temporary basis by setting an expiration date. When this date arrives, you and your ex must decide whether to continue bird nesting or convert to another type of custody arrangement.