Wondering what a “bird-nest” co-parenting arrangement is?

Simply, the arrangement is child-centred and provides stable and familiar living arrangements for children whose parents have separated. Instead of children having to pack their belongings each week or sometimes 2 or 3 times a week, they remain living in the one home, while their parents rotate.

It might seem like a crazy idea, but it certainly can protect children from the constant disruption to their lives, when their parents separate and choose to live apart. It also shows children that their parents still can respect and work together, even though they no longer live as one family in one home.

There are many, varied and creative versions of bird-nesting, including when parents have agreed on the set days that they will live with the children, for example they may have an arrangement where dad spends every Monday and Tuesday each week with the children and mum spends Wednesday and Thursday with the children, with the parents alternating the weekends.

Would you suit a bird-nesting co-parenting arrangement?

Obviously, this arrangement is not for everyone and in fact it can sometimes be detrimental to very young children who are unsure of where their primary carer is during the night.

Successful “bird-nesting” co-parenting arrangements needs to 2 parents who can:

-> Communicate respectfully;

-> Put their children first;

-> Respect the parenting ways of each other;

-> Find alternate and suitable accommodation for themselves when they are not with the children;

-> Create and follow through on agreements and rules.

The arrangement can be a transitional arrangement or can be permanent, depending on their circumstances of the separating couple.

In Australia, parents who separate can decide what arrangements best suit their children. For many reasons the “bird-nesting” co-parenting arrangement is not the first choice of most parents.

However, if parents can work through their finances and deal with their divorce or separation in an emotionally healthy way, there is no reason why “bird-nesting” cannot be considered, tried and even become a permanent co-parenting arrangement.

It might seem expensive for parents to have to find alternative accommodation when they are not living with their children, but having to create two fully functioning households is also expensive. With a bird-nesting co-parenting arrangement, the parent’s accommodation can be modest and there is no need to buy extra furniture, toys or space to accommodate the children.

New partners do present a challenge with “bird-nesting” co-parenting arrangements, and this might be a time when the arrangement will need to be re-negotiated.

Ideally, the “bird-nesting” parenting arrangement will last as long as it works and until the youngest child finishes school.

“Suzy and I were together for 17 years, our boys are aged 16 and 10, we did not want to disturb their lives, simply because we decided to separate. We still like each other enough to work together and make the best decisions for our kids” – Tony aged 55.

More Information

Was the above useful? If yes then you may be interested to read these other articles of ours:

Separated and Living Under The Same Roof

Separated Couples Living Under The One Roof

Conclusion/Next Steps

If this article has interested you, the next step would be to book an initial consultation with us, please contact us on 02 8999 1800 or email info@cominoslawyers.com.au


The content provided here is general information. It is not intended to be relied upon for the legal advice.