Birdnesting has become an increasingly popular way to co-parent following separation. It involves the children remaining in one home (usually the marital family home) and the separated parents taking it in turns living with the children in that home.
This concept has been around for a while in the U.S, and is becoming more and more popular here in the U.K. This is not something that the courts can order against unwilling participants, but more of a concept that parents are coming up with themselves or with the help of a mediator.
Birdnesting is believed to be a more child centred approach to co-parenting with the emphasis being on the children maintaining the stability of the family home, whilst the parents take on the burden of travelling to and fro between homes’.
The benefits in the short term are clear. Such an approach would provide a smoother transition to their new way of life as children of divorced parents, but is it a viable long term plan?
What is clear is that it requires a significant amount of sacrifice and compromise. What is essential is that the parents are very clear at the outset as to the rules. Agreements would need to be made and adhered to, including every last detail. It would need to be set out who pays for what, who is responsible for household jobs and what are the rules in terms parenting.
The bird nesting approach can only really be in the children’s best interests if the parents can truly co-parent. To do this the parents need to have respect for each other and be willing to communicate.