Bird-nesting is a trend that many parents considering a divorce may have come across. It refers to an arrangement where the family home is maintained as the children’s residence, and the parents rotate out of the “nest.” According to a study, this tactic is growing in popularity and has been tried at least temporarily by 11% of couples. This may be a good solution for some Maryland families who are able to maintain multiple properties; however, there are legal and logistical considerations.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the arrangement:
- Pro: If well-executed, it could be a positive arrangement for children’s mental health, by limiting the amount of sudden change they face.
- Pro: Creates less urgency in property division, so parents have time to work out the finer points of who gets what and how co-parenting might look.
- Con: Typically requires the maintenance of three households (one for each parent, plus the joint home), which can be an added expense.
- Con: Continuing to share space, even if not there together, could contribute to added conflict or drama, such as issues about bringing new significant others to the shared home.
For many couples, bird-nesting is a transitional arrangement, aiming to provide a slower and steadier change for shared children while the finer points of a divorce are worked out. Although the main positive cited by bird-nesters is making things easier for children, there is limited research on how such an arrangement impacts children’s mental health. Benefits depend on the specifics of the arrangement and parents’ ability to keep conflict at bay and communicate effectively, both among themselves and with children. Those who are considering bird-nesting and need insight on how to make the arrangement work under Maryland family law should discuss the finer points with an attorney.