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Birdnesting a growing trend in child custody arrangements

For divorcing parents, aspects of child custody often overlap with asset division. Figuring out what to do with a marital home can be intimately intertwined with which parent has primary physical custody, as custodial parents sometimes have strong desires to keep their children in a familiar setting. A new trend in child custody forgoes the need for deciding which partner will stay in the house.

In traditional child custody arrangements, parents arrange times and places to pick up or drop off their children. In birdnesting, the newest child custody trend, that place is almost always the family home. Some New York parents are now opting to keep the family home as is, kids and all, and rotate in and out with their exes.

Parents who engage in birdnesting do so for a number of reasons. Some believe that letting the children remain in the family home while the adults take on the burden of shuffling around is for the kids' well-being. Others look at it from an economic standpoint, such as the New York couple who wanted to take their time selling off the apartment that they had all once shared.

There are downsides to birdnesting, including the constant reminder of issues that led to the divorce in the first place. For some, it can be troubling to spend several days a week in a house that their ex-spouse also occupies. Maintaining a joint household is also difficult enough as is without taking into account that both parties are divorced. Still, for some couples who are able to have an amicable divorce and remain friends throughout the process, this child custody trend could potentially provide a viable alternative to traditional approaches.

Source: New York Post, "Is 'birdnesting' the stupidest - or smartest - divorce trend yet?", Anna Davies, April 28, 2016

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