A new sit-com, Splitting Up Together, highlights a divorced couple’s attempt to do what is best for their children following their split. “Bird nesting” is not a new concept, but the popularity of the television show is putting it in the limelight.
What is bird nesting?
Bird nesting (or nesting) is when the parents — not the children — change homes when custody switches from one parent to the other. Often when mom and dad split up, one stays in the marital home and the other gets another place to live. The children shuffle from home to home depending on who has custody that week, weekend or night.
With nesting, the children stay in the marital home and the parents come and go depending on their custodial agreement. The parents may share their “other” home to save money or maintain their own second homes for time spent without the children.
The benefits can be substantial for the children:
- They get to stay in the home they are already used to.
- They don’t have to pack and unpack for a night, a weekend or a week, as custodial duties switch from one parent to the other.
- They don’t need to change schools and can maintain the same friends.
- They get to see both parents on a regular basis.
Will nesting work for you?
A bird’s nest arrangement won’t work for everyone. It is best if you have some type of co-parenting agreement. One parent shouldn’t feel like a visitor in the other’s home.
You should also have a clearly defined arrangement regarding upkeep and maintenance of the shared home. If you are splitting your time equally at the home, chores and grocery costs should be split equally as well.
Nesting can help with your post-divorce finances. The second home shared by the parents on an alternating schedule can be small since the kids won’t be staying there. And, you’ll only need one set of toys. This is less expensive than maintaining two larger homes.
There are pros and cons to bird nesting for parents who have split. In the TV comedy, the parents’ second home is actually an apartment attached to the garage of the marital home. It should get interesting when one or the other starts dating.