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Is 'bird's nesting' a good parenting plan option?

The social stigma associated with divorce is nothing like it used to be in Ohio. What used to be a source of shock to the community is so common that most divorces take place without raising so much as an eyebrow.

One possible exception to the scenario may be where children are involved. Parents need to come up with a plan for how to meet the children's best interests while allowing themselves to get on with their lives. There are many types of custody arrangements worth considering, and courts may even be willing to consider creative ideas if they can be convinced it will serve the children best.

One relatively new method is one that some might consider to be strictly for the birds. But some psychologists and family dynamic experts say it may well make sense in certain circumstances. It's called "bird's nest" co-parenting. Many family law observers trace the roots of this custody formula to a West Virginia divorce case from 2000.

On its face, it might not seem to be that unusual a scenario. According to the court record, the mother had primary physical custody of the two minor children. She and the father had joint legal custody. What was different was that the children continued to live in the family home while the parents moved in and out on a set schedule. Mother was there during the week and dad was there on weekends.

Since then, this type of custody arrangement has grown more popular around the world. Supporters of bird's nest parenting hail it for how it puts the child's welfare at the center of things. However, experts warn it is not without challenges.

For one thing, it can be cost prohibitive. The parents have to have the means to be able to continue to support the family home while maintaining one or two other separate residences.

Secondly, maintaining the arrangement long-term requires the parents to commit to setting aside their own lives in favor of the children. Because of that, some experts suggest bird's nesting might only work from the time of separation up until the divorce becomes final.

There may be other implications, as well, which is why, if bird's nesting is being considered, it's best to examine it with the help of a skilled attorney.

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