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Is ‘birdnesting’ for you?

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So-called “birdnesting” is being touted as a new — and much improved — way of co-parenting after a divorce. Before you try it, however, make sure you realize what you’re doing.

The way it works is that the kids stay in the family home while the divorced or divorcing parents rotate in and out. Whenever it isn’t your turn in the family home with the kids, you stay somewhere else. In most cases, the parents get an apartment for this purpose.

The goal is to minimize the disruptions that children face from divorce. This type of parenting agreement accomplishes that by putting all of the stress of adjusting to weekly changes in living quarters on the adults.

In practice, birdnesting can be very difficult to keep going for long — even for the kids. Experts say that this style of living tends to work best when the concept of divorce is still new to the kids. Seeing their parents rotate in and out of the family home allows them a transition period where they can adjust to the idea that their parents are no longer a team.

However, anything longer than about three months can actually be counterproductive. The kids may start to believe that you’re not really going to split after all — and that can make it harder to adjust to the reality in the long run.

Plus, maintaining that kind of living situation requires a lot of constant negotiation on the part of the parents. It isn’t really possible to move on with your life as a single person when you and your ex-spouse are still required to deal with the minutiae of sharing a home.

Any type of parenting agreement requires compromise in order to be effective. However, you need to be realistic about how much contact you and your ex can handle with each other. Post-divorce parenting styles that work great for one couple might be disastrous for you. For more information about child custody issues or help with a specific problem, talk to your San Antonio family law attorney.

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