Bird’s Nest Custody

What is Bird’s Nest Custody, and is it right for you?

Bird’s Nest Custody is a twist on joint custody.  In Bird’s Nest Custody, the children stay in the family home, and the parents take turns living with them.  This method is beneficial to children because they are able to stay in the home they are accustomed to, attend the same schools, participate in their extra-curricular activities etc.

However, this method is not for everyone.  It can only work with parents who have an amicable relationship and are committed to co-parenting.  Because you are moving in and out of the house, there is much more interaction with the other parent.  This method is also more expensive because it involves maintaining three households:  the one in which the children live, and then one for each parent.  Some parents with Bird’s Nest Custody get by with two households:  the main household where the children live, and another household that the parents share, but this set-up is extremely unusual.

Is Bird’s Nest Custody right for you and your children?  Here are some questions to think about:

(1)  Can you afford it?

Bird’s Nest Custody is substantially more expensive than a standard custody plan.  Examine the financial situation and determine whether maintaining multiple households is realistic.

(2)  Do you and your ex have an amicable relationship?

If you are considering setting up this kind of arrangement, you need to have an amicable relationship with your former spouse.  You will need to communicate much more frequently than in other custody arrangements.  If you have a contentious relationship with your ex, this is probably not the custody arrangement for you.

(3)  What is your current or proposed custody arrangement?

Bird’s Nest Custody works best where the parents have joint, 50/50 custody.  The further the custody arrangement drifts from that, the less bird’s nest custody makes sense.  For example, if you have custody 1 week a month, you probably don’t want to go through the financial expense etc. of setting up a Bird’s Nest Custody arrangement.

Child Custody in Texas

There are two important concepts to understand when it comes to child custody:

  1. legal custody
  2. physical custody

Legal custody refers to who makes decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare. The physical custody of a child refers to where the child lives and how much time the child spends with each parent. Texas’ public policy is to ensure that children have continuous and frequent contact with both parents and to encourage parents to share custody, unless contact between parent and child would be detrimental to the child’s best interests (for example, in cases of child abuse or domestic violence.)

If the parents can reach an agreement on legal and physical custody, they can decide on a custody arrangement. The court will then issue a custody order based on this arrangement. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide custody based on a number of factors, including the child’s age and stage of development, as well as the strength or quality of the parent-child relationship.