If you are looking at the prospect of divorce and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil it can cause your family, you are not alone. This is why more parents are looking to make alternative arrangements that minimize the courtroom fighting and truly focus on what is best for the children. One such example is known as a bird’s nest, or nesting, and if you or your spouse are able to work together, this could help to minimize conflict and problems post-divorce. Discuss your options with your Arizona divorce attorney so that you can prepare for life after the marriage is over. Adjusting is never easy, but finding the best option for your family can make the transition a smooth one.


This child-centered approach involves making the decision not to have children moving back and forth between two houses. Instead of adapting to the needs of the parents, children are able to stay in an environment they are already familiar with. Since so much change is already part of the divorce process, while working together with your spouse you could create an arrangement where the parents move in and out of the home, but the children are always there. Even though this system seems outside the box, it can help to provide stability and to give children a common place to call home. This can be a temporary arrangement until both parties can figure out their next steps, or it can even be used permanently.

When Doesn’t This Work?

As you might expect, it’s unlikely that this arrangement will work for all divorcing couples. It only works if the parents are able to be in the family home when it is their turn to parent the children and if both parties live in close proximity.  It also demands a level of trust between the parents and a set of ground rules for, essentially, cohabiting separately.  If the parents are able to separate their past conflicts from the issues involved with co-parenting, the bird’s nest approach can work. Both parents must be able to work together to create common rules about discipline and how the children will be raised. Parties who have difficulty coming to agreement on anything are unlikely to succeed with the bird’s nest technique, since every new decision might instead present an opportunity for an argument.


This could also be more expensive for the parties, depending on whether they can come to an agreement about funds used for the household and how each parent contributes. On the other hand, it could be less expensive for the parties if the two parents share the second residence and that location is much smaller (since children will not be living there). Compared with the cost of two separate households, the bird’s nest situation could end up cheaper so long as the parties do it properly.  There are also matters pertaining to continued ownership of the home and other logistical issues to consider when contemplating this approach.

Usually, this arrangement is used until the youngest child has reached the age of 18, but shorter time periods might work for other couples. Make sure you’ve considered what life will look like post-divorce as you go through the process of contacting an Arizona family lawyer.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Does the Bird’s Nest Approach Work for Divorce?, or other family law issues,  please feel free to contact our Family Law Section at  480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.