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Birdnesting: An innovative child custody approach

For Texas parents who are preparing to divorce, it is important to consider the entire scope of available custody arrangements. Birdnesting is one option, and even though it is far from the traditional child custody approach, it is a solution that can work wonders for some families. The best way to think about birdnesting is to recall the way that baby birds are raised and to apply that approach to children.

In birdnesting, the children remain in place in the family home. They are able to sleep in their own beds at night, surrounded by their own belongings and photos of friends and families. They eat their meals, take their baths and complete their schoolwork in the same setting that they are used to. The parents, on the other hand, rotate in and out of the home on a schedule and maintain their own separate living arrangements on their non-custody days.

This scenario requires a number of additional expenses, as there will be three households to support instead of just two. However, it also offers a degree of freedom for the parents, who are able to set up a new living arrangement that is more in line with their personal tastes and needs. Those new digs can also be much smaller, since the kids (and all of their junk) will not be living there. The new place may also be easier to get and keep clean, which is a nicety that is usually only available to parents once their birds grow up and take flight from the nest.

Birdnesting may not be a viable option for all Texas families, but it is something that should be considered. In cases where it is not economically feasible to sell the family home immediately upon divorce, birdnesting could be an attractive solution. If nothing else, this unique child custody approach is indicative of the wide range of possible child custody solutions that are available to Texas families.

Source: New York Times, "After Divorce, Giving Our Kids Custody of the Home", Beth Behrendt, May 30, 2017

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