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'Birdnesting' could be an innovative approach to joint custody

Many divorced parents in North Carolina take time to consider how to best provide their children with a sense of stability. There are a number of custody options that people can consider, and joint or shared custody is perhaps more popular than ever. One alternative type of shared custody option is called "birdnesting." It means that the kids remain in the family home while each parent moves out on a rotating basis.

In most cases, this is an option for people with some means as the parents generally must maintain a small apartment in addition to the family property. The parents share the apartment as well as the home, moving in and out on a weekly basis while the kids remain in the family house. "Birdnesting" is motivated by a desire not to disrupt the children's lives by moving, changing schools or making other major changes.

However, "birdnesting" is usually a short-term, transitional solution that is best suited for parents seeking an amicable divorce. When divorcing spouses are regularly arguing, those arguments are likely to continue rather than end during the nesting process. For these families, a traditional joint child custody arrangement may be more suitable. Even for parents with strong communication and a positive relationship, nesting is typically done for a period of three to six months only. It can provide kids with a practical and emotional time to transition to a new family lifestyle. If kept going for too long, however, it could encourage false ideas that the parents may reconcile in the future.

When parents think about divorce, issues relating to the children are often the most emotionally fraught. A family law attorney could help a divorcing spouse negotiate an agreement about child custody and a parenting plan.

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