Birdnesting Divorce: Co-Parenting in the Same House (2022)

Could you live in the same house as your ex?

Birdnesting parents choose to take turns living in the family home to spare their kids the trouble of moving. Co-parenting in the same house has become popular due in part to increased awareness about the effects of divorce on children.

Like all parenting arrangements, birdnesting has benefits and risks. There are some things to consider before choosing birdnesting divorce. Find out ways you can make this unique situation work for your family.

Custody X Change is software that creates parenting schedules and plans for your divorce.

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What is birdnesting divorce?

Birdnesting divorce (also called bird's nest custody or birdnesting) is a living arrangement that keeps children in the family home while parents take turns living there. When a parent is not in the family home, they live elsewhere. Birdnesting is meant to keep the burden of the divorce on parents rather than children.

While bird's nest custody usually starts after divorce, some try the living arrangement during divorce. This way, each parent gets a fair share of parenting time and the kids don't have to worry about moving in with a parent only to have to switch homes again if that parent doesn't win custody.

(Video) Divorced But Living Under The Same Roof... Happily | TODAY

Benefits of birdnesting

There haven't been many studies conducted to prove the effectiveness of birdnesting, yet, there are some potential advantages.

There's less pressure

Going from a two-parent to a one-parent household is a drastic change.

Staying in the family home will give you more time to think about whether you want to sell your home, where you'll eventually move if you do, and the visitation schedule you'll put in place when the time comes.

You won't have to worry about coordinating exchanges, and can come up with a plan that allows you to mold at-home time around your work schedule.

You'll also know that the children's living environment is safe and know where to find them in case of emergency. You could agree to let each other know when you're taking the kids somewhere.

It's easier on the kids

Co-parenting in the same house allows children to stay in familiar surroundings. They won't have to change schools, make new friends or switch between households for visits.

Bird's nest custody could help the children deal with the divorce as they see that the divorce mostly impacts parents since they're rotating in and out of the family home. Living with both parents shows children their parents are committed to parenting together despite their separation.

You share parenting responsibilities

In typical co-parenting arrangements, one parent often ends up taking on most of the parenting responsibilities. Birdnesting divorce requires both parents to step up to care for the children and the family home.

(Video) Nesting (Birdnesting) Coparenting after Divorce Can Actually Save You Money!

Parents can share tasks like cleaning, preparing meals, helping the kids with homework, etc. Plus, both parents get to spend quality time with the kids. They can be there when the kids reach new milestones and make memories in the same home.

Risks of birdnesting

Critics question whether birdnesting is any more effective than regular co-parenting. Keep these risks in mind before choosing birdnest custody.

The kids might get confused

When children see their parents in the same home, they may begin to think they're getting back together. This can make things confusing, especially if you're bringing new partners into the home as well.

There's also a chance that birdnesting could hurt a child's ability to get through the divorce. They might be in denial that their parents have split. Having to move or live between their parent's homes may help children deal with the reality of the situation and become better equipped to handle difficulties in the future.

There are more chances for confrontation

Birdnesting could create problems divorced parents are trying to avoid. You're trying to prioritize parenting and set aside differences for the kids, but certain things may make this difficult.

You might have different cleaning habits or opinions about who's responsible for replacing food items among other things. While you may be able to tolerate each other's quirks at first, overtime, you might get irritated. Also, there are privacy concerns. Are you comfortable leaving your belongings in the birdnest with the other parent?

You might feel trapped

You got divorced for a reason. Staying in the same home could make you feel like you can't break away from the relationship and move on with your life. Potential partners may feel uncomfortable with your living situation, making dating difficult.

Birdnesting could also make you more anxious as you have to prepare for the unexpected. If a parent loses their outside housing, could you stand living under one roof at the same time? If birdnesting is your living arrangement during divorce, you might feel like the parent could use anything you do within the birdnest against you in court.

(Video) Kate Scharff’s: Separated Under the Same Roof: 11 Tips for Surviving “The Divorce Limbo Phase”

Things to consider before birdnesting

Co-parenting in the same house seems straightforward, but there are some things you'll have to consider before diving in.

  • Do you get along? Parents need to be on good terms for birdnesting to work. Parents who don't get along or who were estranged should not try bird's nest custody.
  • Can you afford it? Maintaining two properties can be quite expensive. Make sure you've plotted out just how much housing expenses you'll incur for the birdnest and outside residence.
  • Where will parents live when outside of the birdnest? Some parents choose to share a separate apartment while others stay with friends or family or have their own apartment or house.
  • How far apart do you live or work from the birdnest? Where you live or work should factor in when you're scheduled to live in the birdnest.
  • Will you birdnest long term? Many parents transition away from birdnesting once the kids get used to parents being apart or once the children are a certain age.

Tips on how to make birdnesting work

Birdnesting divorce requires some extra effort to be successful.

Create a parenting plan

If you decide to birdnest, put clear instructions in a parenting plan.

Beyond a schedule that lays out when each parent will live in the bird's nest, your plan should include terms like:

  • When will the birdnesting arrangement end?
  • Are new partners allowed in the home?
  • How will you share chores like cleaning?
  • How will you split mortgage or rent payments?
  • How will you share costs for groceries and other household items?
  • Will you have separate bedrooms?
  • How will you handle schedule interruptions?

Make it clear you're not reconciling

So the kids don't think you're getting back together, explain the arrangement to them and your reasons for birdnesting. Parents shouldn't enter the home during one another's time, and any interactions you do have within the home should be minimal.

Stick to a consistent parenting style

Set boundaries for your children and make sure that both parents enforce them. Let kids know their chores, bedtime, curfew and other expectations you have for them, and the potential repercussions for not following them.

Don't involve the kids in your disagreements

A big reason for choosing bird's nest custody is to spare the kids from conflict. If something upsets you, talk things out in private. If things get especially contentious, consider consulting with a third party to work through your differences.

Communicate effectively

A vital part of birdnesting is being on the same page. Keeping a cleaning schedule and grocery list on the fridge is a straightforward way to communicate your expectations for one another. Also, be upfront about anything that's bothering you within the home, and try to talk through the issue with the other parent so you stay on good terms.

(Video) Interviewing Author Dr Ann Buscho on Birdnesting

Staying on top of your birdnest custody arrangement

You'll need a thorough parenting plan to make birdnesting work as your living arrangement during divorce or after.

At Custody X Change, we've seen a rise in parents opting to birdnest. Our software enables parents to create custom schedules and lay out the ground rules of their unique living arrangements. All of this is organized into a printable document.

With Custody X Change, managing your birdnesting arrangement is a breeze.


Birdnesting Divorce: Co-Parenting in the Same House? ›

'Birdnesting' or 'nesting' is a way of living that enables children to remain in the family home and spend time with each parent there. Each legal guardian stays at the home during their agreed custody time, then elsewhere when they're 'off duty'.

How do you deal with a manipulative co parent? ›

How can you deal with a manipulative co-parent?
  1. Let the small issues go. According to Psychology Today, one way to reduce the amount of stress you feel is to ignore the taunts and minor insults that your co-parent may say. ...
  2. Stay formal. ...
  3. Use your empathy.
Feb 19, 2022

How do you nest a separation? ›

So what is 'nesting' in separation? Jack Whelan, Mediator and Barrister explains: “nesting in separation (or 'bird-nesting”) is a process whereby the children of the relationship remain living in one home space while the separated parents move in and out on a rotating basis.

How do you survive co parenting? ›

Successful co-parenting relationships can be achieved when both parents follow a few simple rules.
  1. Communicate Effectively.
  2. Document Everything.
  3. Keep a Regular and Consistent Schedule.
  4. Don't Overreact.
  5. Disagree in Private.
  6. Prepare for a Quick and Friendly Exchange.
  7. Share Positives About Your Time With the Kids With Their Mom.
Jan 13, 2022

Is it better to stay together for a child? ›

There's evidence suggesting staying together for a child may not be helpful when the relationships are strained, volatile, or violent; and there's evidence that staying together is better than splitting even if tension remains.

What is inappropriate co-parenting? ›

Bad-mouthing the other parent in front of your child or in their hearing. Directing negative non-verbal communication at the other parent in front of your child. Exposing your child to conflict between you and their other parent, whether in-person or on the phone.

What is malicious parenting? ›

In malicious parent syndrome, one parent attempts to punish the other parent and can even go too far to harm or deprive their children of the other parent by placing the other parent in a bad light.

Is it possible to co-parent in the same house? ›

Think of them as roommates with shared interests, their children. Yes, they co-parent in the same house. One of the main reasons it works, though, is because they give each other plenty of space.

How do you separate but live in the same house? ›

Tips for Parties Living Separate in the Same Home
  1. 1) Living Separate and Apart. To the extent that they are able, spouses should establish separate living spaces within the home. ...
  2. 2) Separate Responsibilities. ...
  3. 3) Create a Custody Schedule. ...
  4. 4) Socialization. ...
  5. 5) Memorializing Your Separation. ...
  6. 7) Utilize Professionals.
Apr 7, 2020

How do I live with my ex husband in the same house? ›

7 Ground Rules for Living Together While Divorcing
  1. Create a new budget. ...
  2. Allocate responsibilities around the house. ...
  3. Don't sleep with your ex-spouse. ...
  4. Establish boundaries. ...
  5. Plan to live separately. ...
  6. Don't fight in front of your children. ...
  7. Don't use the kids as leverage. ...
  8. Tip 1.

What co-parenting should not do? ›

Emotionally charged issues about your Ex should never be part of your parenting. Never sabotage your child's relationship with your Ex by trash talking. Never use your child to gain information about things going on or to sway your Ex about an issue.

How do you Coparent with a toxic ex? ›

6 Ways to Deal With a Toxic Co-Parent
  1. Establish Healthy Boundaries. ...
  2. Communicate Effectively and Strategically. ...
  3. Do NOT Be Reactive. ...
  4. Let Go of What You Cannot Control. ...
  5. Remember to Take Time to Care For Yourself. ...
  6. Get Support From a San Antonio Child Custody Attorney.
Jul 6, 2021

Should co-parents talk everyday? ›

Barring emergencies, most co-parents seldom need to communicate more than once a day. Many manage with a single communication each week or each parenting period, whichever is briefer.” So unless there's a constant crisis at your home, those multiple texts a day are unnecessary.

What is the best age for a child for parents to divorce? ›

A 45-year-old man, she points out, can have kids in college or in grade school, making different pressures on keeping a family together. The closest she'll say is that the least worst time to get a divorce might be before five years old and after 15.

Who suffers the most in a divorce? ›

While there's no argument that everyone endures the pain of divorce in one way or another, many people may be surprised to hear that, according to research, men have a much more difficult time with a split than women.

At what age does divorce affect a child? ›

Academically, kids going through divorce may earn lower grades and even face a higher dropout rate compared to their peers. These effects may be seen as early as age 6 but may be more noticeable as kids reach the ages of 13 to 18 years old.

How do you tell if you are co-parenting with a narcissist? ›

4 Signs You May Be Co-Parenting With a Narcissist
  1. The Blame Is Always on You. ...
  2. They Lie. ...
  3. They Seem to Enjoy the Conflict. ...
  4. They Use the Children Against You. ...
  5. Practice Gray Rock. ...
  6. Set Yourself Up for as Little Contact as Possible. ...
  7. Have a Conversation With Your Children.
Jul 7, 2020

How do you co-parent with an uncooperative ex husband? ›

How To Handle An Uncooperative Co-Parent
  1. Preemptively Address Issues. ...
  2. Set Emotional Boundaries. ...
  3. Let Go of What You Can't Control. ...
  4. Use Non-Combative Language. ...
  5. Stick to Your Commitments. ...
  6. Know Their Triggers. ...
  7. Encourage a Healthy Relationship with the Kids. ...
  8. Avoid Direct Contact with the Uncooperative Co-Parent.
May 3, 2019

What is vengeful mother syndrome? ›

When this syndrome occurs, a divorced or divorcing parent seeks to punish the other parent, sometimes going far enough as to harm or deprive their children in order to make the other parent look bad. Though most commonly called malicious mother syndrome, both mothers and fathers can be capable of such actions.

What is vengeful father syndrome? ›

Although parental alienation syndrome is not recognized as a psychological or physical disorder, the term describes a condition during and after a divorce in which one parent intentionally becomes vengeful against the other (i.e. “punishes” the other parent) and uses the parties' children as a weapon against that ...

What are the 17 signs of parental alienation? ›

The 17 primary parental alienation strategies fall into five general categories: (1) poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable; (2) limiting contact and communication between the child and the targeted parent; (3) erasing and replacing ...

What do you do when a co-parent is manipulating your child? ›

If you suspect a parent is engaging in manipulative behavior designed to drive a wedge between you and your child, it's essential to put a stop to it right away. Talk to your lawyer immediately. Your attorney will most likely recommend that you begin documenting any concerning behavior before it becomes the new norm.

How do you deal with a toxic co-parent? ›

6 Ways to Deal With a Toxic Co-Parent
  1. Establish Healthy Boundaries. ...
  2. Communicate Effectively and Strategically. ...
  3. Do NOT Be Reactive. ...
  4. Let Go of What You Cannot Control. ...
  5. Remember to Take Time to Care For Yourself. ...
  6. Get Support From a San Antonio Child Custody Attorney.
Jul 6, 2021

How do you prove a parent is manipulating a child? ›

What are the Signs of a Manipulative Parent?
  1. Bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the kids.
  2. Enlisting the children to send messages or requests to the other parent.
  3. Lying to the kids to make the other parent look bad.
  4. Allowing family members and friends to trash talk the other parent in front of the kids.
Jul 8, 2021

How do you deal with a narcissistic Coparent? ›

What to Do if Your Co-Parent Is a Narcissist
  1. Make a parenting plan. Make a plan for how to drop off and pick up kids, and how to handle after-school activities, holidays, and discipline. ...
  2. Limit communication. Your parenting partner may try to get your attention by over-communicating. ...
  3. Stay calm. ...
  4. Have perspective.


1. 'Co-Parenting During and After Divorce' with Ann Buscho (Expert Mind Talks) Episode 34
(Mind Help)
2. Birdnesting: How to deal with divorce in your family
(AZFamily 3TV and CBS 5 News)
3. Birdnesting as a Co-Parenting Plan Can Be Beneficial with Ann Gold Buscho, PhD
(The Amicable Divorce Expert)
4. The Benefits of Nesting Co-parenting
(Divorce Magazine)
5. Divorced couple making it work for their kids by 'nesting'
(TMJ4 News)
6. A mixtape, family history, and bird nesting co-parenting after divorce.
(Family Nesting)

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