Most divorcing parents in Texas can expect to share custody of their children. The parents will each establish their own household, and the children will spend time with both of them according to a pre-arranged schedule.
Unique family circumstances demand a more nuanced approach to child custody matters. If you and your spouse have a child with special needs, your custody arrangements may be significantly different than the arrangements that other families create.
Any child will struggle with the changes and perceived instability of the family unit after a divorce, but children with special needs may find the changes to their living situation and schedule particularly distressing and destabilizing. Birdnesting is a custody solution that could potentially help parents trying to make divorce easier for their child with special needs.
How does birdnesting work?
The home that you share with your spouse is probably where your child feels the safest. Needing to move to a new place can make a child feel insecure and require months of adjustment. Even if they spend some of their time in their home, leaving it to visit with the other parent can be very stressful. They may also have behavioral issues that crop up just before or after custody changes because transitions are difficult.
Birdnesting custody arrangements help eliminate both the stress of a new space and the constant moving involved in custody exchanges. The child stays in the family home, and the parents live in the house during their allocated parenting time. The child enjoys the security of the house and neighborhood where they feel comfortable and know the rules, and the parents are the ones who have to adjust their lifestyle after the divorce.
Birdnesting arrangements require careful planning
Those who agree to a birdnesting custody arrangement for the benefit of a child with special needs often take steps to protect themselves with the right legal documentation. Birdnesting arrangements will require a carefully-created parenting plan. Some couples also need to draft a written agreement regarding the home, including what they will do with it when their child reaches adulthood.
Although there are sometimes extra steps involved, parents may find that a birdnesting custody arrangement makes it easy for their family to adjust to life after divorce. Prioritizing your child with special needs can make supporting them easier during the divorce.