One of the most difficult issues to decide during any Ocean County divorce or legal relationship dissolution is that of child custody and parenting time. Often, both parents want to play an active role in the lives of their children, and while a shared custody 50/50 arrangement may be the fairest thing for the parents, it can often be difficult for the children involved to constantly move back and forth between the homes of their parents.
However, there is a type of child custody arrangement that has been growing in popularity which addresses this issue specifically. Known as “nesting arrangements” or “bird’s nest custody”, this type of child custody allows both parents frequent and regular access to their children, while importantly maintaining the stability of the children’s lives.
What is a Nesting Arrangement in Ocean County?
In a nesting arrangement, divorced parents take turns living in the home of their children, referred to as “the nest”. This regular arrival and departure of the parents form a single home is what inspired the name of bird’s nest custody, as it is akin to “birds alighting and departing the nest”, a quote from a Psychology Today article on the topic of nesting arrangements.
Bird’s nest custody has the obvious benefit of maintaining only a single household for the children, preventing the complications, difficulties, and disruption more standard shared parenting time agreements can cause to the lives of the children. However, bird’s nest custody presents obvious complications for the parents involved, and probably won’t work in every situation.
Requirements for Bird’s Nest Custody in Ocean County
In order for a bird’s nest custody arrangement to be successful, parents will need to meet several important requirements.
- Willingness to Cooperate – As a nesting arrangement will greatly increase the need for parents to work together, i.e. plan for expenses, create schedules, discuss the daily lives and needs of their children, parents who enter into a nesting arrangement will need to be able to set aside your differences, and accept the fact that nesting arrangements are in the best interests of your children, and not necessarily your own.
- Sufficient Financial Resources – Nesting arrangements tend to be more expensive than typical shared custody arrangements since parents will need to support the expense of “the nest”, as well as private residences for each parent for when they are not living in the nest. While some parents opt to alternate between a single shared private residence and the nest, this arrangement poses obvious complications for a divorced couple.
- Clearly Defined Schedules – Parents opting for bird’s nest custody will need to make sure that they have a clearly defined schedule for when each parent will be residing in the nest, and also respect that schedule and the other parent’s agreed-upon parenting time. If one parent regularly infringes upon the other parent’s parenting time by arriving unannounced, or calling the home frequently for updates, it can cause a great deal of strain on the nesting arrangment.
- Clearly Defined Boundaries – It has also been found that most successful nesting homes have a private space for each parent when they are in residence. While nesting arrangments are beneficial to the children, they are sometimes difficult for the parents, so having a private and personal space for each parent in the nesting home can be important to their comfort with the arrangement.
Nesting Arrangements in an Ocean County Divorce
While some family law courts will order temporary nesting arrangements during a divorce, for example to give both parents time to sell the family residence and find residences of their own, permanent nesting arrangements will almost never be ordered by the courts, as they recognize the many difficulties they can pose to parents whose relationship may not support the success of such an arrangement.
Instead, parents who are interested in bird’s nest custody must voluntarily and mutually agree to such an arrangement. If you believe you can financially support a nesting arrangement, and work with your former spouse in a healthy manner focused on the best interests of your children, then bird’s nest custody can be a potentially very positive arrangement for you and your children. Speak with your Ocean County divorce attorney about your options regarding drafting, and securing, a bird’s nest custody agreement.
Contact an Ocean County Child Custody Attorney Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean County area to successfully resolve their divorce and related issues like child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets and debt.
Attorney Peter Bronzino strongly believes that by keeping each of his clients highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, he can better understand their unique needs and concerns, and work towards securing a resolution which best takes those needs and concerns into account. The smaller size of our firm allows us to develop personal and attentive relationships with each of our clients, while charging fair and reasonable rates for our services.
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, your child custody and parenting time agreement, or whether or not bird’s nest custody may work for your family, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.