Bird nesting — or “nesting,” as people commonly refer to it as today — refers to a post-divorce custody arrangement that involves the parents taking turns to stay in the family home. Rather than the kids going back and forth between two homes, they stay put while the parents take turns being “on-duty.” Nesting makes sense for many families, but there are some situations in which it does not work. Psychology Today explains the ins and outs of nesting so you can determine if its right for you. 

Nesting benefits the child 

The main reason parents choose the nesting approach is for the benefit of the child. Nesting provides a stable environment for children who may otherwise feel uprooted following their parents’ divorce. Nesting allows children to stay in the family home full time, which can help them adjust to the changes in their family dynamic. It also helps them feel more secure during a time of major transition. If you and your soon-to-be former spouse share the same common goal — to provide a stable and consistent environment for your children and reduce conflict as much as possible —  nesting may be right for you. 

Nesting is financially helpful  

Some parents decide to go the nesting approach merely out of financial convenience. If you and your spouse cannot afford to maintain separate households, sharing the family home in the first year or so following divorce may benefit both of you. Nesting provides a period during which you can both explore your options, save up money and sell the family home. 

Nesting is not for everyone 

Nesting is for a very unique type of divorced couple — meaning, a divorced couple that gets along. Couples that succeed that this type of arrangement want what is best for the children and have strong communication, mutual respect and trust. These couples are willing to work together to come up with a practical arrangement and, when conflicts arise, compromise to reach a resolution. Unfortunately, if there exists a lot of tension between you and your former spouse, or if your marriage ended badly, nesting may not work for you.