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Missouri child custody: What's the deal with bird nesting?

When ending one's marriage, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. If children are involved, figuring out the best child custody arrangement can certainly be a challenge. For those who are interested in joint child custody, bird nesting arrangements are becoming more popular. For divorcing parents in Missouri, this column will go over what bird nesting is and some problems that accompany this type of parenting plan.

In traditional joint custody plans, it is the children who have to constantly move between their parent's homes. Bird nesting is when children remain in the marital home and the parents take turns moving in and out. The purpose of this is to keep children in one stable environment -- the environment they are used to, with all of their things and near their neighborhood friends.

Psychologists do believe that this type of living arrangement does actually serve children better than what is offered in traditional custody plans. However, it isn't always easy on the parents, so it is something that divorcing couples really have to decide if it is worth it. Problems with bird nesting tend to include parents fighting over the condition of the house when it is their turn to take over, failure of one parent to restock the home with essentials and lack of privacy. If it is going to cause more fights, it may not be worth it.

Bird nesting is just one option open to Missouri parents who are going through the divorce process. At the end of the day, what works for one family may not work for another. Thankfully, courts understand this and understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works in all child custody cases. With the assistance of legal counsel, divorcing parents can figure out custody and living arrangements that truly fit their family's specific needs.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Why modern custody agreements look so different: 'Anything goes, as long as the children are happy'", Danielle Braff, March 8, 2018

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