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Is a birdnesting child custody arrangement right for you?

Parents in Colorado going through a divorce may assume that the only outcome is that there will be two separate households, with the child shuttling between homes during custody and visitation periods. However, some parents, recognizing that divorce itself brings big changes to a child's life, want to try to minimize the disruption to the child's life as much as possible. If parents in this situation are able to cooperate very well, they may want to consider an alternative child custody arrangement: birdnesting.

Through birdnesting, it is the child who remains in the family home, and the parents who will rotate between having their custody or visitation period in the family home with the child, and living on their own in a separate apartment when it is not their turn for custody or visitation. Through birdnesting, the child can have the stability of staying in the family home that they are accustomed to.

Because birdnesting requires a great deal of cooperation, it usually is most appropriate for parents who are willing to co-parent after a divorce. To determine whether birdnesting (or any other child custody arrangement) is appropriate, courts will have to find that it is in the best interests of the child. Sometimes, a birdnesting arrangement is temporary, as it does tie the two parents together both in their day-to-day lives and financially, even though they have divorced.

Birdnesting requires a certain amount of cooperation, as well as financial resources. Parents need to determine who will clean house, buy groceries and, in all other ways, maintain the family home while they are living in it. Parents will also need to make sure they can afford both the mortgage on the family home and renting a separate apartment.

In the end, birdnesting is a creative option to the question of how parents can share custody of their child. It may not be for everyone, but for spouses who can stay on good terms with one another post-divorce, it may be something worth considering.

Source: DivorceMagazine.com, "Bird's Nest Custody: Is It a Good Option for Your Family?," John Griffith, Oct. 21, 2016

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