Many parents in Alaska and throughout the country will be filing for divorce this year. Some have only one child while others have several, yet something they all have in common is that they want to minimize the amount of stress and disruption their divorce causes in their children’s lives. A trend known as “bird nest child custody” is on the rise. However, there are numerous issues to make you think twice before choosing this custody option.
You might say that every child custody arrangement has both benefits and downsides, and you’d be correct. The potential downfalls of bird nesting can be significant enough to deter you from it altogether. If you think it might work, you can always give it a try for an agreed-upon amount of time, then seek modification of your child custody plan if it doesn’t work out.
Consider these potential downsides before using a bird nest child custody plan
The following list includes numerous issues that might make you shy away from a bird nest custody arrangement, which involves sharing your marital home with your ex by rotating turns living there with your children:
- You must have a secondary residence to live in when it’s not your turn to live with the kids, which can be expensive.
- Your children might think you’re nesting because you and your ex want to get back together.
- If one or both of you remarries, it can be awkward for a new spouse to share your former marital home.
- Sharing your former marital home with your ex might be more emotionally challenging than you might think.
- Having extended family in town for the holidays may be stressful if they usually stay at your house because it might not be your turn to stay with the kids, which would make your relatives houseguests of your ex.
Perhaps you don’t find these issues concerning, in which case you might want to go ahead and give nesting a try. Even if one or more of these issues causes you to hesitate in implementing a bird nest child custody arrangement, you might discuss each issue with your ex and devise terms of agreement to avoid problems, such as agreeing that extended family members do not stay overnight in the house unless their direct relative is the parent who is living there at the time.
Don’t forget to discuss financial issues
Finances are another important aspect to discuss if you’re considering a bird nest child custody arrangement in an Alaska divorce. It’s best to draft detailed terms of agreement regarding issues like your mortgage, grocery bills, household supplies, upgrades and maintenance, and more. In addition to money, you’ll want to determine which parent will be responsible for which tasks, like mowing the lawn, restocking pantry shelves and all other recurring household duties.
The more you put in writing regarding your bird nest plan, the less room there will be for confusion or disputes. If a legal problem does arise at any time following your divorce, you can seek additional support as needed.