Most Louisiana family court judges agree that children whose parents share custody following a divorce are often better able to cope than their peers who do not have a shared custody arrangement. Parents are free to negotiate their own terms of agreement. When you divorce, if you and your ex cannot achieve an agreement on your own, the court can make child custody decisions on your behalf. To enable continued structure and routine in children’s lives, many parents are implementing a custody arrangement known as “bird nesting.”
Bird nesting is a lawful and legitimate option for parents who don’t want their kids to have to move away from their family home following a divorce. There are several ways to nest and several important issues to consider before you determine whether this type of custody would work well for your family.
A bird nest child custody plan may revolve around a rotating schedule
One way to nest after a divorce is for you and your ex to take turns living in the house you shared during marriage, where your children will continue to live full time. You are free to arrange the schedule any way you like, such as rotating every week, every three weeks, six weeks or whatever you decide. If you have spare rooms in the house, there is no need for both parents to use the same bedroom when they each stay with the kids. However, if that doesn’t bother you, or you only have one spare room, you can take turns sleeping in it.
The other way to nest is to live in the house at the same time, perhaps in different wings of the home, such as one parent upstairs and the other down, or whatever is possible. Maybe you will share a common area like the kitchen and living room but have your own private space for sleeping at night or entertaining guests. Some family analysts recommend a rotating schedule over this option for fear that children might develop false hopes of their parents reuniting in marriage if they live in the house simultaneously.
Factors to consider when creating a bird nest child custody plan
This type of custody arrangement isn’t for everyone. Factors of consideration include the ages and maturity levels of your children, how well (or not well) you and your ex get along, how you will split chores and home maintenance, and whether this will be a temporary or permanent arrangement.
You’ll also want to discuss adult issues, such as what the ground rules might be for having a new romantic partner over to visit. Holidays, birthdays and other special occasions are a concern as well. Will you both be present for these events or work them into your rotating schedule? If you’re unsure about Louisiana child custody laws or how to write out a bird nesting agreement, it’s helpful to reach out for added support.