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Bird nesting: A custody trend worth examining?

Child custody is not a new issue facing Pennsylvania parents. For decades now, it has been increasingly common for parents to split time with their children after divorce or separation

However, some custody arrangements today might look very different than they did a generation ago. Instead of the traditional plan where children might just spend weekends or summers with a non-custodial parent, many are sharing near equal time with both parents. The living situations might look very different as well. This is certainly the case when we look at bird nesting arrangements.

What is bird nesting?

Bird nesting is a term referring to parents "flying" in and out of the "nest," which is the home their children live in. Children stay put while their parents move in and out of the home in accordance with their parenting schedule.

The concept of bird nesting is not brand new, but it has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks in part to increasing visibility of the arrangement. Recently, for instance, an ABC sitcom portraying a divorced couple bird nesting premiered.

Pros of bird nesting

This arrangement can be highly attractive to people who do not want to disrupt their children's lives. It can allow children to keep their friends, attend the same school and have one place to call home. 

There could also be benefits for parents who want to keep a marital home and are okay with a more gradual approach to "untangling" themselves, as this CNBC article notes

Cons to consider

Despite these benefits, bird nesting is not a good option for everyone. Financially, it can unrealistic for some parents to maintain three separate homes (their own respective homes and the "nest".)

It can also be an impossible or even destructive arrangement for parents who do not trust each other and cannot share the same house respectfully.

Assessing your options with an attorney

Whether bird nesting is right for you or not, it is important to discuss custody and living arrangements with your attorney. Doing so can ensure you consider your legal options carefully and help you create an agreement that is both agreeable and enforceable.

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