What is Birdnesting?

By Bob Matteucci

As spring gives way to summer, it is time for baby birds to leave their nest and start families of their own. For the past few weeks, mom and dad bird have taken turns sitting on the nest, feeding the hatchlings, and teaching them how to survive on their own. Now it is time for everyone to go their separate ways. 

The mom and dad bird’s dedication to their offspring, and their method of trading off who sits on the nest and who flies about, has inspired a new method of co-parenting for some non-feathered folks in the Albuquerque area. Birdnesting, also known as nesting or bird’s nest custody, is a child custody arrangement where the children remain in the family home while the parents take turns living there. 

Attorney Bob Matteuci has noticed there are some unique pros and cons to this new co-parenting tactic that are worth exploring. 

How does birdnesting work?

Instead of shuttling the children between two separate homes, birdnesting requires parents to rotate in and out of the family home according to a set schedule.

The parent having their time out of the nest should not expect to have access to the family home until it is again their turn to have physical custody of the children. 

Pros of Birdnesting

Proponents of birdnesting claim it is better for children than moving between houses because it:

  • Provides some stability when so many other things about their lives are changing
  • Is an easier routine to adapt to than moving all the time
  • Allows the kids to stay in the same school district 
  • Can reduce the overall stress of adjusting to divorce

Parents have also found some benefits to birdnesting:

  • It can foster better communication between the parents since they must continue to manage a home together. 
  • Rising housing prices make it difficult to find a new home. Particularly if you want to try and keep the kids in the same school district or near their family and friends. 
  • Keeping the kids in one location means only buying one set of belongings for the children. This saves the family some money.

The Downsides of Birdnesting 

Birdnesting is not for everyone. It requires a high level of cooperation and communication between the parents to make it work effectively. Even ex-partners who are committed to doing what is best for their children cannot always stomach spending so much time living under the same roof (albeit not at the same time). 

It can also be more expensive overall since each parent typically sets up their own house or apartment in addition to contributing to the upkeep of the family home. And try explaining to a new love interest that you still technically live with your child’s other parent from time to time. 

Serving Families with Dignity & Compassion 

There is just no one-size-fits-all answer for parenting with one’s ex, and birdnesting may be the best solution for some New Mexico families. 

Whether you want to try nesting or some other unique co-parenting arrangement, Attorney Bob Matteuci can help you and your family hammer out the details and draft a custody agreement and parenting plan that works for you. Please contact him today to schedule an initial consultation.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.