When the typical individual thinks of child custody, he or she oftentimes references custodial and noncustodial parent. In fact, there exist some other types of custodial arrangements that can be agreed to or ordered by the court in divorce proceedings. One alternate type of arrangement is a scheme that commonly is referred to as “bird’s nest custody.”
Although not available in all jurisdictions in the United States, and not widely utilized where permitted, there exist some benefits associated with bird’s nest custody. A parent involved in a divorce case is wise to consider different custodial arrangements for a minor child, including bird’s nest custody.
Basic Elements of Bird’s Nest Custody
Under traditional child custody arrangements, the minor child typically spends time in the residences of both parents. Usually, one home is the primary residence of the child and the other home is where a parent and minor enjoy parenting time or visitation together.
The structure is markedly different under a bird’s nest visitation scheme. The child is always in the same residence. The parents rotate in and out of the property when it is a particular individual’s time to be with the child. The term bird’s nest hearkens to the idea of a pair of adult birds flying to and from a nest, where the hatch lings always remain.
Benefits of Bird’s Nest Custody
In theory, a primary benefit of bird’s nest custody is more consistency and stability for a minor child. The child is not obliged to move from one home to another in order to enjoy time with both parents.
There can also be a cost savings associated with bird’s nest custody. Under a traditional custody setup, both parents need to maintain a residence that is designed to meet the needs of a child. However, with bird’s nest custody, only one residence must be outfitted and designed with a minor child in mind.
Potential Negative Elements of Bird’s Nest Custody
A major downside to bird’s nest custody is that the scheme truly requires the parents to be able to communicate effectively. In addition, the parents must be highly capable of respecting each other’s boundaries because they both do share a common space in the form of the child’s primary residence.
In some cases, a judge may entertain a proposal for bird’s nest custody and deem the structure to be in the best interests of the minor child. Bird’s nest custody underscores the possibility the many judges are willing to entertain unique concepts to ensure that the best interests of the child are satisfied when it comes to the matter of custody and parenting time or visitation.
Peter Van Aulen’s practice focuses on divorce and family law. He has been a practicing NJ divorce lawyer for twenty-three years. Mr. Van Aulen was certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a matrimonial attorney. A distinction given to few attorneys. If you have any questions concerning child custody, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen to schedule a free 30 minute in office consultation.