Like most good Louisiana parents, you want what is best for your children. That's why, when you told them you were getting divorced, you also assured them of your support and that you'd do whatever you could to help them adapt to their new lifestyle.
You knew from talking to friends who had trod similar paths before you that children need to know their parents don't blame them for their divorces, so you told your kids it wasn't their fault and reminded them that you love them.
You began considering various options that might be available to diffuse the level of upheaval your divorce would have in their lives. Someone mentioned a new co-parenting trend called "bird nesting" and you've wanted to know more about it. This post provides basic facts about the process but also includes cautions of which you should be aware before making a final decision regarding whether you'll give bird nesting a try.
You'll also want to keep in mind the possible legal problems that could arise in a nesting plan.
Consider the pros and cons
The basic idea of bird nesting in divorce is that you and your former spouse would agree to let your children remain in the house you all shared during your marriage. If that sounds crazy to you and you wonder how such ideas play themselves out in reality, the following list will help answer basic questions about the process, including possible benefits and negative consequences:
- While children keep living in the house you shared as a family during marriage, you and your former spouse would take turns living with them.
- An apparent benefit to this type of arrangement is that you do not have to bother selling your home or fighting over its value in property division proceedings.
- Since there is ample evidence in past studies to show children fare best in divorce when parents maintain a sense of normalcy and also allow children lots of time with each parent. A bird-nesting plan coincides well with these priorities.
- Because children do not have to shuttle back and forth between parental homes, it's a lot easier to maintain a sense of routine and structure in their post-divorce lifestyle.
- Beware, however, that many people say they were completely unprepared for the awkward and unexpected emotional roller coaster nesting in divorce sometimes evokes. After all, you'd still be sleeping in the same house, possibly the same bed, as your former spouse and would also likely see his or her clothes hanging in a closet, toiletries in a medicine cabinet and other highly personal items lying around the house.
- You would also be coming and going from the same premises as your former spouse, which is a much more intimate situation that merely meeting at a local restaurant to arrange for a visitation or custody exchange.
You'll also want to think ahead to the possibility that you or your former spouse might enter a new romantic relationship at some point. The other person involved might not be so crazy about your bird-nesting plan. You'd also have an added expense in your budget since you'd need to have some place to live whenever you weren't staying with your kids. In fact, there are several types of financial and legal issues that could arise that might cause stress in a bird-nesting situation.
Some Louisiana parents turn to family law attorneys to discuss their prospective nesting plans in order to get the low down on the legal aspects of the idea. This also provides a good source of support for any contentious issue that affects your parenting plan during or after divorce proceedings.