You may have read the title of this post and immediately wondered what a bird’s nest has to do with a parenting plan in a Michigan divorce. Well, an actual bird’s nest has nothing to do with. However, there is a colloquial term known as “bird-nest custody” that refers to a unique child custody agreement where divorced parents take turns living in their marital home with their children.
The idea behind this style of child custody is that it enables children to maintain a sense of normalcy and routine as they come to terms with their parents’ divorce. Because they don’t have to move to a new home or go to a new school, it enables them to better cope with the disruption that divorce naturally causes in children’s lives. There are several ways to implement a bird-nest custody plan.
Decide on a schedule, then take turns with child custody
If you and your ex have agreed to share your family ‘s home so your children can keep living there after you finalize your divorce, the next step is to draft a schedule for custody transfers. Many couples trade off every week, and some agree that each parent will stay with the kids for two or three weeks at a time, instead. You could even transfer custody once per month or several times per year. It’s up to you.
Don’t forget to secure secondary living arrangements
Bird-nest custody can spur expenses for the parents. Each parent needs a place to live when it’s not his or her turn to live with the kids. In some cases, a parent will stay in a spare room in a relative’s or friend’s house. This helps keep expenses to a minimum. If you decide to rent a place or purchase a home, it’s best if it is located near your children’s home.
Lay some ground rules for the family home
To avoid problems and to be respectful of each other’s privacy, you and your ex will want to set boundaries regarding your living arrangements. For instance, if you keep your clothing and personal items in separate rooms or closets, make those areas “off limits” to each other. You’ll also want to write out terms of agreement for maintenance and upkeep of the house, including household chores.
Also, you might want to agree to discuss any potential changes or upgrades before making them. This way, you can discuss cost, and neither one of you has more control over the house. You are sharing it. If you and your ex fight all the time or don’t trust each other, bird-nest custody might not be the best option for you. If you want to give it a try, you can craft an agreement and seek a Michigan family court judge’s approval.