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Would you consider 'bird-nesting' as a custody option?

When those with significant wealth decide to divorce, a primary concern may be the division of assets, which could be costly. More than likely, however, each party will leave the marriage with financial security.

If you fall into this category and have children, that wealth may allow you to consider a relatively new and somewhat unorthodox custody arrangement. Have you heard of "bird-nesting?"

What is bird-nesting?

In this form of child custody, the children remain in the family home. The parents live in the home with the children during their scheduled visitation. When not exercising visitation, a parent will need a place to live, which could be another property they share or each may want his or her own space. This provides the children with numerous benefits, including the ability to remain in the same school, to keep friendships and to avoid splitting time between the parent's homes.

Mediation and bird-nesting

In order for such a custody arrangement to work, both parents must be willing to participate. This means they understand they will need to maintain more contact with each other, maintain the family home and respect each parent's boundaries in the home. Ordinarily, divorce completely severs financial ties between the parties, but since the children live in the family home, they remain financially tied to each other by that asset.

If you are willing to consider this type of custody arrangement, you and your soon-to-be former spouse could turn to mediation to resolve your divorce and custody issues. This may work in your favor since Kentucky courts more than likely won't consider this custody option. Their main concern is the best interests of the children.

You could also use the mediation process to determine the division of chores and costs associated with the family home. The remainder of your custody agreement will likely follow those of other parents who decide that co-parenting is the best option for the family.

Assistance and support

The presence of a mediator need not stop you from using your own counsel throughout the process. Bird-nesting is just one issue the two of you will need to work out during the mediation process. Both of you may benefit from choosing a mediator with an open mind and who can think outside the box. With the right assistance and support, you can create a settlement and child custody agreement tailored to your family's needs, which may just include bird-nesting.

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Dietz & Overmann, PLLC
130 Dudley Road Suite 150
Edgewood, KY 41017

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