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Are all Texas parenting plans the same?

Parenting in many ways is an art. There are plenty of how-to books offering opinions about how to go about the task. In the end, however, every Texas family is different and parents have to decide for themselves if and how to collaborate and coordinate efforts to raise their children.

In cases where parents are divorcing or are not married to begin with, the state looks to exercise some influence over how the parents are going to meet their obligations. There are some foundational elements that the court will want to see met, but in the grand scheme of things, custody and visitation plans can be customized to meet the specific needs of your family. Speaking with an experienced attorney can reveal what options might exist.

There is one particular model of co-parenting that has started to gain some attention among experts. It's called bird's nest parenting. While it might not work for every family, this particularly child-centered method of parenting has its supporters in the ranks of psychology professionals.

The model involves turning the typical idea of co-parenting upside down. Instead of the parents living in separate homes and the children being moved back and forth between them on some set schedule, the youngsters stay in the family home all the time. It's the parents who take turns coming and going.

One expert calls it a "novel yet sensible arrangement" because it minimizes disruption in the lives of the children. But he admits it also has its challenges. It can add to living expenses if the parents wind up opting for separate homes away.

On the other hand, if the parents get along well enough to share a single home away, it might save money. They could share a small apartment that doesn't need to be used to put up the children. The children also don't have to have two sets of everything.

This arrangement can also have some fairly obvious drawbacks. If either parent finds a new partner, striking the right balance between family needs and personal desires could be tricky.

Bird nesting may clearly be in the best interest of the children, but making it work requires more; commitment from the parents and support from the broader community.

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