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What to consider for bird's nest co-parenting arrangements

One of the main concerns for divorcing parents is the impact their separation will have on their child. A recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation which analyzes factors that determine the well-being of children throughout the United States is amplifying some of those fears. While North Carolina ranked close to the middle in most of the factors such as health and education, the state placed 36th when it came to the family and community category.

Part of this poor ranking came from a result of the state having 36 percent of its children living with single parents. A child can experience varying negative psychological effects when they witness their parents separate. To avoid some of these effects, more divorcing parents are considering the "bird's nest" co-parenting arrangement. This means that the child stays in the same house while the two parents take turns taking care of their kid in the house and living elsewhere.

While many agree this helps the child process the separation better, there are numerous conditions to think about before settling on this arrangement.

Your financial situation

One of the biggest downsides to bird nesting is the expenses that come with it. You and your ex still have to pay for the house that you are raising your child in while also paying for the separate home you will be in when you are not with the child. Some spouses try to alleviate some expenses by also sharing the same apartment away from the child, but it still does not make this less expensive than other custody options. You also do not know how much property and assets you will lose from the divorce prior to this.

Your relationship with your ex

Ex-spouses will have to communicate with each other frequently when raising their child and changing shifts. Even though you are away from your spouse, you will still be living in the same home as them and have to talk to them to organize your child's schedule. If you are going through a bitter divorce and cannot agree on anything with your ex, this might not be the best arrangement for your situation. You and your spouse must realize that you must put your personal conflicts aside when raising your child in this method.

Your desire to move on

Bird nesting is specifically designed to help your child deal with the divorce more than you. It makes parents more hesitant to move out of the state for their second home and can be troublesome for those who want to pursue new relationships. Your new love interest might not be comfortable repeatedly going back to the same home that you share with your ex. You may not want to leave your child, but it may not be to your psychological or financial benefit to have such strong ties to your previous marriage and marital residence. Some parents choose to do this for a set amount of time, such as one year, which gives the child time to process the separation before the parents establish two separate homes, and still allows the parents to ultimately establish separate households. 

If you are unsure on which child custody arrangement is best for you and your family, you should seek legal advice to get more information on all the different options available.

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