While divorce is oftentimes the best option for parents in a troubled marriage who want to move forward on a positive note, parents in the Bay Area may still be concerned with how the divorce will affect their child. Ultimately, children can grow and thrive even if their parents are divorced when parents are able to co-parent in a cooperative and amicable manner.

Does co-parenting and child custody always mean that one parent will have physical custody of the child and the other parent will have visitation rights? Not necessarily. One unusual child custody option that may work well for some is “bird nesting.”

Unlike traditional child custody arrangements in which the child travels to and from each parent’s home, in a bird nesting arrangement it is the child who remains in the family home and the parents will rotate between living in the family home during their custody time and residing in a separate apartment when it the other parent’s custody time.

There are benefits to bird nesting. The child may experience security and stability by remaining in the home that they are familiar with, rather than being constantly uprooted. Also, both the parents and the child may have an emotional attachment to the family home that they are not ready to give up. Finally, sometimes it makes financial sense for parents to share the family home post-divorce.

Bird nesting entails a certain amount of cooperation between parents. There needs to be consistency in household rules and discipline. Parents will have to agree on who will do what chores. Decisions will also need to be made regarding who will handle which household expenses.

For parents who are able to cooperate post-divorce and are seeking an alternative to traditional child custody options, bird nesting may be a choice worth considering. Ultimately, any child custody decisions must be made in consistence with the child’s best interests. This way, it may be possible to mitigate the negative effects a divorce may have on the child.