Some divorced parents in Arizona might choose a custody arrangement that is sometimes called “birdnesting.” This means that the children remain at home while the parents take turns living there. The parents usually also take turns sharing a small apartment elsewhere. The main advantage of birdnesting is that it gives children a period of time where there is minimal upheaval in their lives, allowing them to better adjust to the divorce.
However, most experts say this is not an arrangement that is likely to work over the long term. Recommendations for an upper limit range from three to six months. One problem is that children may start to believe the arrangement means their parents are working on a reconciliation. Another is that even though parents may get along well, having to share both living spaces can eventually lead to conflict over large or small issues.
Even if parents decide against birdnesting, they can still take steps to reduce the upheaval in their kids’ lives. First, people should try to prevent any major changes, such as having their children switch schools. Parents should make an effort to maintain consistent rules and the same routines in both of their households, and they should help their children keep their relationships with both sides of the family. They should talk honestly with their kids about the divorce and avoid conflict or refusing to speak to their exes when the children are present.
During and after the divorce, parents may struggle with issues around child custody, visitation and support. Even if they are able to amicably negotiate an agreement for custody and visitation, conflict may still arise. In the parenting agreement, individuals might want to address any areas with which they are concerned, including how pickups and drop-offs will take place and concerns about the children meeting their exes’ new partners. Courts usually encourage people to work out their differences outside of court.