No one knows better than you what your children need to help them adapt to a new lifestyle following your divorce. While you may rely on close family members or friends for advice or recommendations, the bottom line is that you know your children best and are fully equipped to make decisions on their behalves. It would be nice if divorce were so simple that all you would have to do is create the plan you determine is best for your kids then implement it.
As you already know, however, there's another parent involved, and the California court also has to approve any parenting plan you wish to carry with you into your post-divorce future. If you and your former spouse get along well and are both willing to cooperate and compromise as needed regarding your children's care, you may have options available to you that other parents don't. For instance, you may choose to try a "bird nesting" custody arrangement. If the idea is new to you, there are support resources available to help.
How it works
The basic format for a bird nest arrangement is that your children would stay living in the house your family shared during your marriage. This type of plan is definitely not a good fit for everyone, so it's always best to thoroughly research the topic before deciding to give it a try. The following information explains the process further and may help you determine if bird nesting is a viable option in your particular situation:
- If you want to try bird nesting, you'll need to have alternate living arrangements made for the times it's not your turn to live with your children. Bird nesting works on a rotating schedule where you live with your children in the family home for a designated time, and after that time, you leave and your spouse moves in.
- One of the main benefits of bird nesting is that it helps preserve a sense of normalcy and routine in your children's lives. If you're worried that traveling back and forth between two households may cause them a lot of stress, this option might be a good choice.
- Another factor to consider, however, is how a bird nesting situation may impact a new relationship in your life. Not every romantic partner or new spouse would be open to the idea.
- Bird nesting takes a tremendous amount of communication and compromise. You and your former spouse would have to spell out all the details ahead of time or else legal problems could arise down the line. For instance, will you have separate rooms in the family home or share one room between you when you come and go?
- You must also resolve financial issues ahead of time, such as how you'll pay the mortgage if you still owe on your house, as well as who will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep supplies, efforts and expenses.
If the court approves a bird-nesting plan in your case, it doesn't necessarily have to mean it is a permanent arrangement. If you give it your best shot and find it is not working out well for your family, you can ask the court to modify your existing parenting plan. Of course, that would involve having a backup plan in mind.
Settling disagreements when they arise
If you wish to continue bird nesting but have run into an obstacle because of a disagreement between you and the other parent, you can hopefully negotiate a peaceful solution to the problem. If you feel the problem is too great to resolve on your own, you can reach out for family law support.