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Is ‘birdnesting’ the short-term child custody solution for you?

| Nov 15, 2018 | Child Custody and Visitation

If you’re a divorcing Tennessee parent worried about your kids and child custody, you might want to learn this term.


In short, that means you keep the kids in their nest – your family home – as you and your spouse rotate living in the house with them.

It’s gaining in popularity.

If you have family nearby willing to have you move in on a part-time basis each month, you can stay there when your ex is living in your marital home with the kids. When it’s your turn to be with the kids, your ex stays elsewhere.

Oftentimes, the two ex-spouses will rent a studio apartment and share that, taking turns living there while the other is with the kids.

The reasoning behind birdnesting is not to disrupt life for the kids. Their lives aren’t changing as much as they could this way since their parents are divorcing.

Experts in the topic say this can’t go on forever, but three to six months is a great transition period for kids. It gives them time to get accustomed to the situation while not giving them false hope that their family will reconcile one day.

So, what should you do when the nesting time comes to an end? You can keep much the same, even if it means the kids rotate between two homes.

  • Agree with your ex on a method to parenting. That means maintaining the same routine in both homes, such as bedtime and mealtimes.
  • Agree on rules. Don’t let the kids, especially teens, play you against each other.
  • Try not to move to a home that will require a change of schools. Kids will feel the change in the family dynamic less if they have other constants around them.
  • Don’t fight in front of the kids.
  • Keep relationships open with extended family members on both sides.

Birdnesting might not be right for you, but it is an option. Your family law attorney can work with you to try to come up with the right solution for your family when it comes to child custody.


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