In Georgia some divorced couples with children have experimented with a new concept of family law that is called ‘birdnesting.’ Research has shown that keeping children in a low conflict environment during a divorce and thereafter is an effective way of minimizing the stress on them. One way that some couples do this post-divorce is to maintain the family home as the main anchor, with the parents rotating their stays in the home instead of flipping the children from house to house.
This can be a costly enterprise, with the financial bite of keeping up three homes going forward. Some couples will find the cost worth the advantage of not disrupting the children’s sense of security and confidence in their original home setting. This setup has the advantage of allowing the children to continue seamlessly in school and with respect to other activities that are a regular aspect of their life.
Some matrimonial experts say that the arrangement only works on a short-run basis and that it is not recommended to continue for many years at a time. Some experts also put a maximum period on the arrangement, such as three months or six months. The problem with a longer term is that it indicates to the children that a reconciliation may be the ultimate result of the setup.
It is typical and natural for children of divorce to long for a return to the original marital situation, which includes both parents together. The birdnesting child custody arrangement keeps that kind of hope alive and in that way may contribute to mental uncertainties for the child’s evolving mind. Accordingly, some experts do not recommend birdnesting as they feel that permanent psychological conflicts can arise from the experience. In the final analysis, the best way for parents in Georgia or elsewhere to handle the problem is to set up a plan that combines continuity, security and self-confidence along with a realistic approach to the challenges that life presents.