‘Bird’s nest custody’ can be a soaring success – but beware of the pitfalls

‘Bird’s nest custody’ – a process where children live in one home, while their parents move in and out to an agreed schedule to look after them – is an increasingly popular arrangement for divorced and separated couples.

The process is highlighted in the hit TV series ‘Billions’, where US Attorney, Chuck Rhoades and his estranged wife, Wendy, a high-powered performance coach, harness it to maintain stability for their son and daughter while they try to work out their differences.

It has also taken off this side of The Pond. Many couples who have been introduced to bird’s nest custody via meditation say it has brought them closer together as they collaborate on their children’s best interests. As well as the intended benefit of stability and reduced stress for children, the process can make communication between parents more effective.

Nevertheless, there are potential pitfalls to beware of:

  • Some children may be of an age where they can accommodate the arrangement, but older ones may rebel, or feel unsettled by the situation.
  • While it might give children a sense of security, it could also confuse them – raising false hopes that their parents might get back together.
  • Parents must have other living arrangement in place when not ‘on duty’. Running three homes will be beyond the financial means of many families.
  • The process requires a high level of trust and cooperation between couples which may not be achievable
  • It can also pose the issues of cooking and shopping for your ex, when you must declare that you have lived separate and apart before decree absolute can be granted.
  • The option might also make it more difficult for parents to form new relationships, as it will tie future partners into their rigid domestic arrangements.

Difficulties and obstacles are not insurmountable, but couples would need to meticulously plan, compromise and communicate, just as in other child custody matters. It is vital that boundaries and rules are drawn up before embarking on the process.

For more information about bird’s next custody or any aspect of family law call the team at Jones Myers on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce

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