One of the most challenging aspects of divorce with children, after breaking the news, is figuring out living situations. If you are at the beginning of your divorce process, you likely need some space from your ex in order to plan for your next steps. However, you may also not be ready to totally unroot your children and dissolve the family home.
One way that some ex-couples are dealing with this situation is by using “birdnesting.” Birdnesting is an unconventional living situation that turns the traditional co-parenting arrangement on its head.
What does it look like?
Rather than the parents having two separate households and the children moving between them, the children stay in the same house and the parents rotate in and out. This provides maximum stability for the kids, and the rotation of the parents mimics birds taking care of their young in the next: hence, the name.
In order for birdnesting to be effective, you must be on amicable enough terms with your ex to continue to share household tasks. You will still need to jointly pay bills, shop, and do all activities pursuant to running the household.
How long does it last?
Birdnesting can last for as long or as short of a period as you like. However, in most situations, birdnesting is a short-term solution while the parents put together future plans. It is likely that both you and your ex will want to establish completely-separate living situations at some point. However, some birdnesting situations can last until the kids leave the house.
Depending on the state of your divorce, birdnesting can help ease the process.