What is bird-nesting?

After a divorce with a child or children involved, there are a few options for parenting. One is sole custody, where one parent has control over the children. The non-custodial spouse can apply for visitation rights. Another option is joint custody where both parents share custody over the child. Bird-nesting has been around, but has been popularized by Jon and Kate Gosselin from the reality TV show “Jon & Kate Plus 8, ” as explained in Yahoo! Voices on July 8, 2009. In a bird-nesting agreement, both parents decide to keep a marital residence where the children will live all the time. The parents share custody of the children and take turns living in the marital residence. This can be an advantage for some. One father commented that choosing the bird-nesting option meant that each child would have one, “childhood room that is always there,” as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle in an August 10, 2005 article.

Bird-nesting details

If parents are willing to live in one house one week and the other house another week, then they will only do it if they have a good parenting relationship with their divorcing-spouse. The reason is that bird-nesting requires much cooperation between the parties. For example, a legal agreement might need to include how much money the parents can spend each week on their children if they use a joint account for bird-nesting purposes. Additionally, the agreement must be very clear as to the times and dates when the parents switch.

Another consideration is how to deal with the newly single parents dating. Bird-nesting is a good way to put the children in the center and establish stability despite the divorce. However, if one parent starts to date, both parents must decide how to approach this—will the boyfriend or girlfriend be able to stay at the bird-nesting house?

The cost

Finally, parents must consider the cost of bird-nesting. Bird-nesting can get very expensive. To start, the couple may need to support three households—the marital residence where the children live, the residence where the mother lives when not living at the marital residence and the residence that the father lives at when not living with the children. That means that parents who bird-nest may need three homes, which is very expensive. For this reason, many people who would like to have a bird-nesting agreement simply cannot.

Our office

At the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C., we always seek to find a custody solution in a family case that is in the best interests of the child, whether that means sole physical and legal custody or joint custody. Mr. Lutzky has 30 years of experience practicing law in New York. Over the years, he has represented thousands of satisfied clients. Call his office at 1-718-514-6619 to set up a free in person consultation or visit us on the Web at www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.