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The Kids Get the House: Custody Arrangements in Modern America

More often than not, parents cooperate with one another in the best interests of the children. Often, this means that one parent gets the house while the other parent pays for an apartment that is capable of housing children when it is time to visit. Often, this arrangement is difficult on the kids because the courts expect the children to be delivered when it is time. The kids may not really want to go anywhere, especially a place where they feel estranged from their belongings and comfort.

Today, it is becoming more commonplace for parents to split custody of both the children and their home. How does it work? Well, the children get the home and the parents rotate in and out of it. Each parent may have their own apartment or for economic reasons, split a place. The term for this is “birdnesting” and it is becoming much more popular in America as housing rates skyrocket and rent goes through the roof.

Birdnesting: A Primer

Birdnesting is the ideal solution for parents who have a fairly amicable relationship and can logistically pull off this arrangement. The children end up staying in the house full-time and instead of the children visiting a parent at a different location, the parents rotate in and out of the house when it is their parenting time. The children do not have to leave their stuff behind, prepare for an overnight stay, or live in two environments feeling displaced. 

Who is Birdnesting?

The trend is popular in European countries among middle-class families. However, divorce attorneys are seeing more American families interested or opting into birdnesting. In countries like Sweden and the UK, it is becoming much more commonplace, with reports of nearly 11% of divorced couples having tried birdnesting at one time or another. In the US, the trend is becoming more popular because of celebrities who discussed birdnesting over social media. Anne Dudek and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the most famous names associated with birdnesting. While celebrities with multi-million-dollar bank accounts may not be the target audience for birdnesting, their discussion is raising awareness that the option is available to everyone. 

While celebrities may have popularized birdnesting, middle-class Americans who are looking to save money are giving it more consideration. The arrangement makes deciding custody issues much easier because visitation schedules revolve around the children and not vice versa. There is less to coordinate, fewer expenses related to moving, and there is good reason to believe it improves a child’s response to the new divorce normal. 

However, there are no actual studies related to birdnesting to determine how effective it is at improving the mental health of children post-divorce. We do, however, know that the less you change, the less stress the children will be under, and keeping them in their same old bedrooms should reduce tension and improve acclimation to having only one parent in the house at a time. The general opinion is that whatever allows the child to retain their existing routine is preferable to anything that changes it.

Talk to an Indiana Divorce Attorney Today

Chris Arrington represents the interests of those who are seeking to divorce. Call today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your goals and interests immediately. 

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