When parents in Texas decide to divorce, they may be particularly concerned about how it will affect their children. There is a number of different child custody arrangements that people can choose depending on what is best suited for their particular family. Increasingly, legal standards and family choices are moving toward joint or shared custody. With this form of custody, both parents have roughly equal time with and responsibility for the children.

In most cases of joint custody, the children move back and forth between their parents’ homes. However, some people are choosing a different option, at least for the first few months during a divorce. Birdnesting is when the children stay in the family home while their parents rotate their time between a small apartment and the main home. This is an approach that requires a significant amount of healthy communication, so it is best suited for couples going through an amicable divorce. If it is successful, however, this method can give children a transitional period to adapt to the changes that accompany divorce. It can be particularly helpful in enabling a child to finish out the school year in the same place.

However, birdnesting is best suited as a short-term arrangement. Children may be confused and believe their parents are likely to reconcile if the situation continues for too long. Also, the shared arrangement means that parents are highly restricted in their ability to date or develop their own social lives. Birdnesting can be a temporary option for three to six months as parents move toward a more traditional form of joint custody.

A parent considering divorce may have a lot to worry about, including child support and visitation schedules. A family law attorney could help someone negotiate a parenting plan with his or her ex and resolve key divorce matters like property division.