January 9, 2015

What is a “Bird’s Nest” Co-Parenting Agreement?

Child Custody, Children of Divorce, Divorce Trends, Illinois family law attorney, Marriage

Divorcing with children is never easy, but a new trend in divorce may make the dissolution of a parents’ marriage easier on children. This is because a so-called “bird’s nest” co-parenting agreement is the most child-centered co-parenting in which divorced parents can engage.

A bird’s nest, or “nesting” agreement is one in which the children stay in the family home, and parents take turns living there. The non-nesting parent either stays in a separate residence that the divorced couple shares, or resides in his or her own apartment. As reported by Psychology Today, centering a co-parenting arrangement on the children is novel, and it can help children have a much smoother transition to life as a divorced family.

Because of the cooperative and intimate nature of nesting, it is not a solution for all divorcing couples. Additionally, understanding the attached emotional risks and difficulties is an important first step to overcoming them.

Emotional difficulties can include the constant reminder of the person you once loved, but if both parents are committed to finding clear and constructive solutions, it can be possible to make it work. One parent who is involved in a nesting arrangement told The Huffington Post that it allowed her and her ex-husband to maintain routine, while at the same time pursue a new, independent path.

In addition to the obvious benefits nesting arrangements can have for children, it can also be beneficial to their relationships with their parents. In a nesting arrangement, the parents stay fully in control. This can help reign in what would otherwise be problematic behavior. The hitch in this is that both parents must agree to strict house rules—so to speak—so that neither one badmouths the other when he or she is absent.

Psychology Today suggests that parents who opt for this type of post-divorce co-parenting arrangement should be commended, as they “are clearly placing their children’s needs and responsibilities to those needs above their own interests.”

If you or someone you know is considering divorce and would like to discuss co-parenting options, the most important first step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact a dedicated DuPage County family law attorney today.