In situations where it’s not possible to maintain multiple homes after a divorce, a modifying approach to birdnesting may be possible. For instance, the marital home may be maintained while both parents have a sort of time-share arrangement with a smaller, less expensive studio apartment nearby. The purpose of this type of setup is to keep the environment as normal as possible for children.
However, it’s generally advised that birdnesting be set up as a temporary arrangement only rather than something indefinite. Extending the arrangement could give children the false impression that parents are working on a reconciliation. A short-term arrangement may also soften the impact of eventually having to transition to a more typical post-divorce setup that involves time spent in two different households.
Nesting does have some possible pitfalls, such as the potential for sources of contention if, for example, one former spouse forgets to restock the fridge or has another partner over during their time with the children. Typically, birdnesting tends to work best when it’s done on a short-term basis by home-sharing until a child finishes their current school year.
Even with a temporary birdnesting arrangement, it’s possible to have issues with parenting time. For instance, one parent might decide to change the locks and prevent the other one from having their turn. With situations like this, an attorney may attempt to work out differences among parents without seeking court intervention. Other times, a lawyer might recommend seeking sole custody if there is concern that a parent is not acting responsibly during their time with the child. Assistance may also be provided if a custodial parent has difficulty obtaining support payments.