Some parents in Virginia who are going through a divorce might consider an arrangement that is sometimes called nesting or birdnesting. This allows the children to remain at home while the parents alternate staying there. Usually, parents share another place that they also take turns living in when they are not with the children.
Birdnesting can offer children stability after divorce. However, experts say it is best if the arrangement only lasts for a few months. For example, parents might want to nest while their children finish out the school year. If it goes on for much longer, it may increase the likelihood of conflict between parents. This, in turn, is not good for the children. Nesting might also give children a false hope that their parents will reconcile.
However, there are many other things parents can do besides nesting that can give their children a sense of stability. Parents should not engage in conflict in front of the children. They should try to have the same structure in both homes along with the same rules and consequences. It is best if children can remain in the same school as well. Children should be allowed and encouraged to keep relationships with extended family members. Finally, parents should put children first and talk honestly to them about the divorce.
There are a number of different arrangements for custody that parents might be able to agree on. Furthermore, over time, a modification in the custody arrangements might be necessary. This may happen as children get older and express a preference for a different arrangement or may be necessary if one parent has to move for work. While family law courts generally encourage parents to work out their differences without going to back to court, parents may want to make any major changes in custody legally binding.