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Is bird nesting a good custody option for you?

Nesting is a unique way to raise a child, but it's not something that will work for everyone. Also known as a "bird's nest" arrangement, nesting after divorce refers to keeping your child in the same home while you and your spouse trade places when you have custody.

In a nesting arrangement, each parent takes turns moving in and out of the house. This isn't always easy, since each parent has to maintain an independent home as well as the primary residence. This can be extremely costly. It also means that the home won't be divided during property-division negotiations. Instead, the parents may opt to divide the marital property after the child is grown.

Is bird nesting right for your situation?

It should go without saying that bird nesting isn't right for everyone. It only really works if you and your ex-spouse live close together, if you can afford to maintain three separate residences and if you're willing to continue to share a space for the benefit of your child's routine and stability.

The main issue with bird nesting is that not all parents enjoy working together after a divorce. They may have ill feelings toward one another or scoff at the idea of living in the same home that has negative feelings from the marriage. Bird nesting does generally work better for couples who are civil or even friendly, since it's a way to put their children first but to still get the separation from the ex-spouse that they want.

Can you cut down on the costs associated with bird nesting?

It's possible that you and your ex-spouse could arrange to rent only one additional property, so you exchange locations from your marital home to a rented home when you do or don't have custody.

Another option is to build in a mother-in-law suite or external apartment at your primary residence, so that one of you can stay in the home and the other has a separate home on the same property. You can get creative with bird nesting, because there are fewer expenses (in most cases) than if you and your ex-spouse have to maintain two larger homes as a result of having custody in those locations.

Bird nesting is a unique option for custody. Your attorney can talk to you more about how it may affect your custody arrangements and your finances in the future.

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