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Going through Maryland divorce is never easy, but the process can be even more difficult for parents of minor children. Even when you know that the decision to part ways is in the best interests of the family, the resulting separation and trauma can be especially hard on young ones. Parents can minimize the conflict and negative, lasting effects by working together to keep the child custody aspects of divorce as non-disruptive and amicable as possible. However, though you may agree on this objective, you may be at a loss when it comes to figuring out how to achieve it.
One child custody concept that has shown promise for creating stability and reducing disruption is “birdnesting,” in which the children remain in the family home and the parents rotate in and out. There are multiple advantages, but this living arrangement is not suitable for every situation. Your Maryland divorce attorney can advise you on the specifics, but there are some questions you need to ask yourself about birdnesting as a child custody option.
Does Birdnesting Serve My Child’s Best Interests?
You will be required to submit a parenting plan in connection with a Maryland divorce, which covers the basics of child custody and visitation. If parents can agree on the plan, the court will likely approve it if it meets the child’s best interests standard. As you assess whether birdnesting would meet the relevant criteria designated under state law, consider the following:
- The living arrangement is less disruptive because the children stay put are not being shuttled between separate households.
- With the uncertainty they face through the divorce process, remaining in the family home is less of a shock.
- Birdnesting allows children to go to the same school and maintain existing friendships.
- It is often more convenient and practical for parents to rotate, compared to moving children. Along with their clothing, toys, supplies, and electronics.
What are Some of the Pitfalls Involved With the Bird’s Nest Approach?
The living arrangement can be confusing for younger children who might assume their parents are still in an intact relationship. Plus, a child may retain an emotional connection to the family home and memories. This makes it difficult for them to move on after the divorce.
How Long Can We Feasibly Live in a Bird’s Nest Arrangement?
Birdnesting is most successful when parents employ the strategy as a sort of transitional approach to child custody rather than long term. Once their lives are stabilized and they have closure, the benefits for children gradually subside. The cost for each co-parent to maintain a separate residence can be extreme. So financial considerations may also require the arrangement to be temporary. Plus, if and when parents re-enter the dating world, the bird’s nest approach can create conflict.
A Maryland Child Custody Attorney Can Guide You in Making Informed Decisions
If you believe birdnesting might be a suitable child custody arrangement for your divorce case, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation. We can advise you on the relevant laws, assist with parenting plans, and represent you in court throughout the proceedings.