North Tampa Legal Group, PA

Don’t want to sell your house? Why not let your kids stay there?

On behalf of North Tampa Legal Group posted in blog on Thursday, October 26, 2017.

When you realized your marriage was heading for divorce, you immediately began to stress out over the logistical issues and various tasks you knew you’d likely undertake in the process. Like most good parents in Florida, your main concern has always been your children’s welfare, and you knew they were not going to want to move away from their home. In fact, you dreaded even having to tell them about your plans because you didn’t want to upset them.

In situations like yours, many people have been giving a new type of parenting arrangement a try. It’s been dubbed bird nesting and may help you kill two birds with one stone (no pun intended) by eliminating a need to sell your home and lessening the stress your children may experience throughout your divorce.

How does bird nesting work?

The basic premise of post-divorce bird nesting is that your children would continue to live in the home you shared with them during your marriage. You and their other parent would take turns living with them. The following list provides potential pros and cons of such arrangements that may help you determine if it’s a viable option in your particular situation:

  • No need to sell: You might consider this a major perk if you’re trying to avoid the hassle of selling your house. Of course, you would have to negotiate various issues with your former spouse, especially if you still owe on the mortgage, such as who will be responsible for payments, maintenance, stocking the pantry and fridge, etc.
  • No need to shuttle kids back and forth: Studies show structure and routine help children adapt after their parents divorce. One of the greatest stresses many children experience post-divorce is having to travel back and forth between two households. Bird nesting would alleviate your children’s burden in that area.
  • Time with both parents: Studies also show most children fare best when they have ample time with both parents following divorce. Bird nesting allows you and your former spouse to share child custody and may eliminate many complications that often arise in visitation situations as well.
  • Additional living quarters: A possible downside to bird nesting is the added expense you may face in securing personal living quarters when it’s not your turn to live with your kids. If you and your spouse are on really good terms, you may consider sharing the cost of a single apartment and taking turns living there when one of you is with your children.
  • Unexpected emotions: You probably have already dealt with your share of fluctuating emotions since deciding to divorce. Continuing to live (albeit part time) in the house you shared with your former spouse during marriage can be a bit awkward, even sorrowful.

You can write out the terms of your proposed bird nesting plan and seek the court’s approval. If you try it and determine it’s not working, so long as both parents agree, you can seek approval for a revised plan proposal.

Sources of support

You may want to talk more about bird nesting with other Florida parents who have tried it. Finding someone who succeeded and someone who wound up opting for another arrangement may help you gain an overall perspective to determine if it’s right for you.

You can seek legal guidance if a particular obstacle arises that is impeding your ability to carry out your bird nesting plan.