A Brighter Future For Your Family

  1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Child Custody
  4.  | Understanding Bird’s Nest Custody Arrangement

Understanding Bird’s Nest Custody Arrangement

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Child Custody

Child custody is one of the most challenging aspects of marriage dissolution proceedings, if not the most perilous part of a divorce case. Time and again, a momentous struggle in a divorce proceeding involves the matter of child custody. The underlying law in every state governing child custody determinations in divorce and post-divorce cases demands that decisions be made based on what is in the best interests of the child.

A type of custodial structure that theoretically can work in any state is one that oftentimes is referred to as “bird’s nest custody.” In addition to understanding what is meant by bird’s nest custody, parents facing the prospect of child custody issues are wise to have a basic knowledge of the pros and cons of this type of structure.

Understanding Child Custody 

There are two types of child custody that are at issue in divorce, legal separation, paternity, and post-divorce cases: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody delineates how the parents will make major life decisions for a child. Legal custody sets forth whether one or both parents will make decisions involving such matters as education, religion, and healthcare.

Physical custody is the second type of custody that comes into play in family law cases. Physical custody focuses on how the parents will provide a home for a child. The issue typically centers around whether one parent will have full physical custody or whether custody will somehow be shared between the parents.

A common custodial arrangement is one in which parents have joint custody, but one of those parents has primary custody. In other words, a child lives a majority of the time at one parent’s house. The other parent exercises what is known as parenting or visitation. This type of structure results in a child going from parent’s home or another as part of the custody arrangement. Bird’s nest custody disrupts this traditional custodial pattern and practice.

Overview of Bird’s Nest Custody

At the foundation of bird’s nest custody is the understanding that a child enjoys a healthier existence when he or she has a more stable life. A fair argument can be made that when a child goes from one parent’s home to another, such a process lessens the stability of that young person’s life.

Bird’s nest custody establishes a structure in which the child always lives or stays in the same residence. Parents move in and out of the residence based on when it is a mother or father’s time to be with a child.

Advantages of Bird’s Nest Custody

As alluded to a moment ago, a key benefit associated with bird’s nest custody is that the arrangement enhances the overall stability of a child. A child is not bounced from one residence to another.

Bird’s nest custody increases the amount of quality time a child has to spend with a parent. A child is not left wasting important parenting time driving or otherwise traveling from one parent’s home to another.

Disadvantages of Bird’s Nest Custody

When it comes to bird’s nest custody, one or both parents might feel a bit off balance because they do not have a consistent residence of their own. Another disadvantage of bird’s nest custody is that the arrangement can prove more costly than traditional arrangements. These expenses occur when each parent maintains his or her own residence in addition to the one in which the child resides on a consistent basis. These expenses can be reduced if parents agree to move in and out of the same house when not with the child. However, many parents shy away from away sharing space with the other parent, even though they are not residing in a particular house at the same time.


Understanding the essential elements of bird’s nest custody, and some of the essential pros and cons associated with it, provides guidance to parents when considering custodial options available to them and their child. Informed parents that understand all options available to them tend to have a better chance of cooperating rather than opposing one another when it comes to a challenging issue like child custody.