Whenever a parent has to go on a business trip, the other parent is there to care for the children during his or her absence. When it is the other parent’s turn to go on a trip, the roles will be exchanged. That has given families nationwide, including in Michigan, the concept of birds nesting. Although this is not a custody or parenting option included in statutes or family law, it has proved to be ideal for families who want to spare their children the upset of moving between the homes of divorced parents.

Nesting was named after the manner in which birds leave their young in the nest while the parents fly in with food. Divorced parents leave the family home to find separate apartments or other accommodations from where they alternate parenting time in the family home. Parents can work out a schedule that will fit their other commitments and make sure one of them is always at home with the children. Children can remain in familiar surroundings rather than having to adapt to new strange places.

Parents who have successfully managed parenting time in this manner say it can last as long as the arrangement seems necessary. Some find that it allows the children time to adjust to the idea of the divorce without feeling abandoned by one parent. However, they say there are three conditions to meet before bird nesting can be a satisfactory solution. Both parents must be in full agreement, both must be able to find other accommodation, and both must share the care and the cost of all aspects of the nest.

While no family law court will order bird nesting as a parenting option, Michigan couples who are considering uncontested divorces can work out their own parenting arrangements. However, there may be issues that need legal clarification. Answers to questions about child custody and parenting options can be obtained from an experienced family law attorney.

Source: The New York Times, “After Divorce, Giving Our Kids Custody of the Home“, Beth Behrendt, Accessed on Aug. 5, 2017