Parents have more child custody choices than ever before, and one of the new ones is known as bird's nesting. This form of custody purports to affect a child of divorce less than other plans, but it's clearly not right for all parents. To get a better idea of what is entailed with bird's nesting custody, read on.
Physical Custody and Legal Custody
All parenting plans involve various combinations of physical and legal custody. The only time a parent is not awarded legal custody is when something has gone very wrong. Parents who have abused a child or are incarcerated may lose legal custody of their child. No legal custody means no physical custody either. Physical custody, however, can vary. A parent may have full physical custody or sole custody of a child while the other parent has only legal custody. Legal custody provides the parent with an ability to have a say in important matters concerning the child such as education, religion, discipline, and more. With bird's nest custody, parents have both legal and physical custody of the child – but not sole custody – and that makes it unique.
How Bird's Nest Custody Works
This idea came about as a way to let the child remain in the family home or in a single location 100% of the time. It is the parent who must be shuffled around from place to place. The child benefits by residing in a single, secure location with no need to have two sets of belongings or having to pack up and move to their other parent's home on a schedule. It also avoids the idea that one parent only gets to "visit" their own child using a visitation plan, as can happen with joint custody.
Bird's Nest Custody Challenges
The other parent usually lives with the child for a certain period of time. The plan may specify a schedule of two weeks with and two weeks away, or other variations. When the parent is not with the child, they must make arrangements for a place to live. Some parents rent or purchase a second residence that they take turns using. Other parents make their own arrangements. Couples who agree to this plan should be prepared to communicate well with each other and to set up rules about the living arrangements. For example, parents should discuss issues like whether or not a new significant other would be welcome in the home with the child. Here are a few other considerations:
- Who will spend time with the child on birthdays or major holidays?
- Who pays the bills for the main home?
- Does this arrangement have an end date and what will be done then?
Bird's nesting is not right for everyone. You will need expert law firm services to make an informed decision. Speak to your divorce attorney to learn more.