Bird nesting as a parenting arrangement.
Much like the image it creates, the children remain in the nest or family home, while the parents come and go. It is an arrangement that is very child-centred. The children don’t have to adjust to living in two separate homes, the parents do.
While we would all agree that relationship breakdown can be distressing for everyone involved, the breakdown of the relationship between parents often means that children have to deal with dramatic changes in lifestyle which can leave children feeling hurt, worried, confused or angry. All too often families confine themselves to traditional models of parenting after separation without considering a model or arrangement that might be better suited to their individual circumstances.
Bird nesting is an arrangement which is about minimising disruption to the children’s lives. The disruption is born by the parent who is arguably better equipped to deal with it. At the time that the parent is not living with the children, they are living elsewhere, either making their own arrangements or in a place that is shared on a rotating basis with the other parent.
The arrangement can be short term while the children adjust to the new family structure or longer if desired. It can also contemplate how the property will be divided when the arrangement comes to an end. Bird nesting can also overcome the additional financial distress of having to establish a second family-sized home at the time of separation.
We have observed that bird nesting works best when there are clear arrangements about parenting, the household and communication. The consistency reduces conflict while promoting positive co-parenting. We believe a clearly drafted arrangement and schedule from the outset is critical to the success and vital in shielding children from potential conflict.
Speak to an experienced family lawyer about crafting a parenting arrangement that will work for your family.