Some parents in Ohio who are getting a divorce may have heard about an arrangement known as “nesting” or “birdnesting.” This is when children continue living in the family home while their parents take turns staying there.
Most experts advise that nesting is generally beneficial only if the parents are amicable, and the arrangement lasts for just a short period of time, such as three to six months. Birdnesting can offer children a stable adjustment period in which they do not have to make too many changes at once. However, experts caution that relying on this schedule for a longer period of time can lead children to believe that their parents are working on reconciliation. It can also create a strain for parents who are still forced to share living spaces, even if it is not at the same time, leading to additional conflict.
Whether they choose to transition into divorce with nesting, there are several steps parents can take that may help their children adjust. One is keeping rules, routines and expectations consistent between households. Another is keeping the child in the same school. Children should be encouraged to maintain relationships with relatives on both sides of the family. Above all, parents should avoid arguing in front of their children or silent hostility.
Working out a schedule for child custody and visitation can be difficult, but doing so instead of going into a court battle, where a judge decides, may be better for children. Older children might want input into the arrangement. Kids might want to move between households weekly or go back and forth during the week. Not every parent works a regular schedule, so this might also affect the arrangement. If parents do not share custody, there may still be generous visitation time for a noncustodial parent.