Following the divorce or separation between parents, there is not really a right or wrong way to continue cooperative parenting if each parent is invested in the process. Ideally, both parents want to provide what is best for the child, even at their own inconvenience or personal sacrifice. From an outside perspective, most coparenting situations seem to be at least relatively similar: the children stay with one parent for half the time or more, then go to the other’s home to spend time with their other parent. Of course, the allotment of time and scheduling is unique to each family, but the overall structure is fairly standard.
However, there is another available option that is gaining mild popularity in the United States and around the world. It is known as bird’s nest parenting, and it involves the children remaining in one home—usually the marital home—and the parents rotating in and out according to an agreed-upon parenting time schedule.
How It Works
Much like newly-hatched chicks, the children subject to a bird’s nest coparenting arrangement stay in the family home after a divorce or separation. For some children, this is far preferable to going back and forth between parents’ homes, as would be the case in a more “traditional” parenting time arrangement. The parents, then, are the ones who must move back and forth, into the primary home for parenting time and to a separate residence when it is the other parent’s turn.
To a large extent, this type of arrangement offers children much more stability and far less day-to-day disruption. They sleep in the same bed every night, maintain the same school routine, and have all of their personal belongings available to them all the time. It also requires parents to remain not only civil, but amicable and communicative as they will be a significant part of one another’s lives.
A bird’s nest parenting situation will not work for parents who cannot agree to work together. Both parents must assume responsibility, not only for the children, but upkeep and maintenance of the home. If one parent refuses or fails to comply with the agreement, the arrangement can deteriorate quickly and lead to even larger problems.
Money is another potential drawback. In addition to the children’s home, there will need to be at least one other separate residence in which the parents will live. Very few, however, will want to share that alternate home as well, so, in practice, bird’s nest parenting requires three homes: one for the children, and one for each of the two parents. Depending on the financial situation following the divorce, such an arrangement may not be economically feasible.
Work with a Qualified Lawyer
While a bird’s nest parenting arrangement may work well for your particular circumstances, it would not be ordered solely on the discretion of an Illinois court. Instead, such a situation is only likely to be possible if you and the other parent propose and agree to it on your own. For more information about developing creative coparenting plans to meet your family’s needs, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-377-7770 today to schedule your free initial consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C..