News & Resources

Home » Blog » Collaborative Family Law » Bird-Nesting Co-Parenting after Divorce

Bird-Nesting Co-Parenting after Divorce

Are you divorced? Do you want to co-parent? Have you thought about bird-nesting?

Bird-nesting is an alternate and unique co-parenting arrangement. Bird-nesting focuses and prioritises the child’s needs and well-being above the needs of their divorced parents. Bird-nesting is intended to reduce the disruption and uncertainty that divorce can bring to families and children. The younger the children, the more bird-nesting is a positive and healthy co-parenting options. This way of co-parenting ensures that children’s living arrangements are not disturbed. The children can attend the same school, see their friends and family and remain in familiar environments. The children feel reassured that their world is not falling part, simply because their parents have decided to divorce.

What is bird-nesting?

Bird-nesting co-parenting means that the children live in the one home. It is their parents who rotate weekly or fortnightly or as agreed. This means that the adults (who should have the emotionally maturity) cope with the regular change in living arrangements and not the children.

Who suits bird-nesting parenting arrangements?

As you can see, bird-nesting will not suit all divorced parents. It is certainly not for those parents who continue to bicker and hold resentments from the past. In those cases, bird-nesting will not work.

But where the adults can separate the issues that caused their marriage to end and put their children’s needs first, then bird-nesting is a win-win co-parenting arrangement.

 What you need to make bird-nesting work ?

Most importantly you need to trust each other as parents. Both you and your ex must have enough respect and regard for the other as a parent for bird-nesting to work. It also requires a high level of communication ( not always possible) where people can’t forgive, forget or move on from their divorce.

You also need the financial means to be able to afford to maintain 2 homes. This means that you and your ex must contribute towards the family home where the children live and also be able to afford your own accommodation when you are not living with the children.

Your second home also needs to be relatively close to the children’s home and their schools.

Some challenges of bird-nesting co-parenting

Bird-nesting co-parenting creates challenges that traditional parenting arrangements don’t need to consider.

For example clear and consistent agreements must be made about household maintenance, children’s routines and attendance at extra-curricular activities.

“My ex and I made bird-nesting work because on the days we each left we would always have the fridge full of food and the house cleaned for the next parent”

Another difficulty that arises is what happens when new partners arrive on the scene. For most divorced parents this is not a conversation that needs agreement or even to occur but with co-parenting no issue remains uncleared or not discussed. When new partners arrive, both parents have to be comfortable with their living arrangements and privacy concerns must also be addressed.

Parenting Plans

For bird-nesting arrangements to work effectively, then parenting plans are essential. A parenting plan is a document that reduces in writing the agreements between the parents. Parenting plans cover any of the following issues:

  • children’s education
  • child support
  • children’s routines
  • relationships with extended families
  • new partners
  • birthdays and other special events
  • travel overseas and holiday

How long does bird-nesting last ?

This depends upon each families individual circumstances and needs. It is highly suitable when children are young and attending primary school. Once children start high school and grow into adolescents the need to bird-nest may no longer be necessary or desirable. As children grow, they gain confidence and maturity and are more capable of managing living in 2 separate homes.

As always sensitivity and high-levels of co-operation and communication are necessary to ensure that bird-nesting transitions work.

Bird-nesting is certainly a viable alternative to co-parenting. It is a healthy way for children to adjust to the changes that divorce brings without the negative consequences. It is respectful and very child-focused way of raising happy and emotionally well-adjusted children. However if there is the slightest hint of conflict, resentment or tension between the parents, then all the goodness that bird-nesting offers can become negative and counter-productive.




The information provided is intended as general information. It is not legal advice. If you require legal advice contact me directly



News & Resources