What Is Birdnesting Custody in Illinois?

 Posted on March 04, 2024 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerWhen parents get a divorce, they generally try to figure out where each ex-spouse will live and come up with a schedule for which home the children go to when. That is certainly the most common custody arrangement, but not the only one available. Some parents decide to keep the children in the family home, and instead of the children moving from home to home, the parents alternate when they stay at that home. Otherwise known as birdnesting, this option is not for everyone, but under certain circumstances, it can work wonderfully. If you and your spouse are considering birdnesting, speak with an experienced Kane County, IL divorce lawyer to help you understand your options. 

How Does Birdnesting Work?

When divorced parents decide to try birdnesting, it takes a great deal of pressure off the children. They don’t need to remember to pack important things frequently as they shuttle back and forth between their parents or make sure to have multiple of all their favorite things. The children keep on living in their home, sleeping in their own room, and it is the parents who alternate sleeping there. 

Many people who choose this option believe that since the parents were the ones who decided to get the divorce, they should also be the ones to deal with the logistical inconvenience of this new reality.

This type of arrangement can work when the former spouses share healthy communication and maintain some sort of relationship. However, if the divorce is particularly acrimonious and the dynamic between the parents is toxic, sharing the same living space is not advisable. It is very difficult to protect your privacy and feel able to be “at home” in your home if you are essentially sharing that space with a person who makes you feel uncomfortable and negative.

Another disadvantage of birdnesting is it can be particularly costly. You might think you are saving money by maintaining your home that you have already made financial arrangements for. Even if there is still a mortgage to pay off, that is not a new development. But what happens on the days you do not sleep in your home? If the parents need to split the costs related to the family home, including mortgage payments, home maintenance, and routine repairs, and each covers the costs of their alternative homes, the expenses can quickly add up and become unaffordable. 

On the other hand, since the children permanently stay in their home, the parents would need to find alternative homes that can house them alone, without needing to accommodate extra space for the kids. This means that even a studio apartment could be sufficient. Additionally, some divorced parents who manage to maintain a healthy relationship find that they can share both the family home where their children live and their alternative home where only the parents stay on the nights they are not with their children.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Divorce Lawyer

As you can see from this article, birdnesting is an interesting concept but can become quite complex and does not work for everyone. A Kane County, IL divorce attorney can offer guidance and make sure you are still protecting your rights. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800 so we can begin.

Share this post:
Back to Top