Every divorce involving children is difficult. Even when parents still respect and care for one another, dividing into two homes can be incredibly upsetting.
To minimize the negative impact this could have, especially on the children, some parents are opting for non-traditional custody plans and schedules.
One such approach is "bird nesting," where the kids live in a home and parents move in and out in accordance with their parenting time. Whether this type of creative arrangement might work for you will depend on a few critical factors.
How is the relationship between parents?
Parents who do not get along or are not interested in having any more contact than is necessary often do better with traditional custody plans. Having the children move between houses on a specific schedule can minimize contact between parents and allow the children to build relationships separately with each parent.
If parents do get along and respect each other, then a creative plan where they stay closer to each other (and the kids) could potentially work. This might include living in the same building or, as is the case with bird nesting, moving in and out of the children's home.
Are there financial limitations?
Money is a major factor in whether a creative custody plan is appropriate. For instance, if finances are very tight, it may not be feasible to fly kids back and forth for frequent interstate or international exchanges. It could also be impossible to maintain three homes for bird nesting (the children's home and each parent's separate home).
Is the arrangement in the best interests of the children?
Above all, it is crucial that any custody plan in place prioritize the best interests of the children. Whether you have a creative or non-traditional arrangement, it should allow kids to be safe and supported.
Determining the best custody arrangement for your specific situation can be a challenge. However, an attorney familiar with your specific needs and wishes can help you understand the possible solutions. He or she can then guide you through the process to formalize your plan, whether that is in mediation or the courtroom.