A Comprehensive Guide to Birdnesting

Divorce and separation can happen in relationships. This is usually a turbulent time for all involved, especially if there are children to consider.

The first consideration of any divorce in the eyes of the law is the children’s well-being. 

Birdnesting involves the living arrangements of your children and how each parent will spend their time with them.

In this article, we will go into more detail about this and give a full guide on birdnesting. 

What is Birdnesting? 

what is birdnesting

Birdnesting in relation to divorces or separations involves keeping children situated in the family home whilst parents take turns living with them.

This takes some of the burden of divorce from the children and places it more on the parents. 

Birdnesting can happen during or after the divorce is finalised as a way to try out the living arrangements and ensure they are suitable. 

Birdsnesting can also be referred to as bird’s nest custody. 

Pros of Birdnesting

what are the benefits of birdnesting

Stability for Children

Your children will remain in a familiar home, which can provide a sense of security and continuity.

Their daily routines, school schedules, and friendships are less likely to be disrupted compared to moving between two separate homes.

A stable home is important for children who are in the early stages of their development. So birdnesting can help facilitate this. 

Easier Adjustment for Children

Staying in the same home can help children adjust more easily to the changes in their family structure.

The stability can reduce the stress and anxiety that children might experience from shuttling between different homes.

Divorces are stressful periods for children so keeping as much stability in this period is important. 

Many studies have been conducted which analyse the importance of family stability for children

Simplified Logistics for Children

Your children don’t have to pack and unpack their belongings regularly, which can be both practically and emotionally beneficial.

They have access to all their toys, clothes, and personal items without the need to move them back and forth.

Positive Impact on Co-Parenting

You and your ex-partner can share the responsibility of maintaining the family home and providing a stable environment.

Birdnesting can encourage better communication and collaboration between the both of you as you two manage the household and co-parenting duties.

Gradual Transition

Birdnesting can provide a gradual transition to more permanent living arrangements, allowing you and your children to adjust slowly.

It gives you time to make thoughtful decisions about your future living situations and long-term co-parenting plans.

With birdnesting you won’t need to rush into a new residence that might not be suitable. You’ll have more time to choose the right place to live on a permanent basis.


Birdnesting provides a flexible arrangement that can be adapted as your family’s needs and circumstances change.

It can serve as a temporary solution while you finalise divorce proceedings and long-term plans.

Cons of Birdnesting

what are the cons of birdnesting

Emotional Strain 

Constantly moving between residences can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

You may feel unsettled and lack a permanent personal space, impacting your overall well-being.

These strains can then affect other areas of your life, including your parenting skills. 

Potential for Conflict

Sharing the family home can lead to conflicts over cleanliness, organisation, and household maintenance.

Without clear boundaries, you may inadvertently intrude on one another’s privacy and personal time.

If conflicts such as these arise then this could have an effect on the upbringing of your children. 

Impact on New Relationships

New romantic relationships can be complicated by the bird nesting arrangement, as potential partners may find the situation awkward or difficult to navigate.

Seeing an ex-spouse in the family home can trigger jealousy or resentment, especially if one parent moves on faster than the other.

Emotional Impact on Children

Children might develop false hopes that you and your ex-partner will get back together, leading to confusion and disappointment.

The arrangement can send mixed signals about the permanence of the separation, affecting children’s ability to adjust.

Difficulty in Long-Term Sustainability

Birdnesting is often a short-term arrangement and may not be sustainable in the long run as you establish a separate life from your partners.

Eventually transitioning to separate homes can be another significant adjustment for children.

What to Consider Before Birdnesting

what to consider before birdnesting

Take these points into consideration before you decide to undertake birdnesting: 

  • How your current co-parenting relationship is – Evaluate the current level of cooperation and communication with your ex-partner. Birdnesting requires a high degree of teamwork and mutual respect.
  • The age of your children – Consider your children’s age, temperament, and emotional needs. Some children may benefit greatly from the stability birdnesting offers, while others may struggle with the arrangement.
  • Financial health – Assess whether you can afford the additional costs of maintaining multiple residences, including rent or mortgage, utilities and furnishings.
  • The housing market – The housing market may be in great health when your divorce is finalised. The market can fluctuate and if you don’t sell you may not get the same value again for your house. 
  • Setting boundaries – Establish clear guidelines for household responsibilities, personal space, and privacy to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Personal well-being – Reflect on your emotional state and readiness to handle the complexities of birdnesting, including the potential stress of living in close quarters with your ex-partner.
  • Willingness to adapt – Stay open to modifying the birdnesting arrangement as needed, based on feedback from your children and changes in your personal or financial circumstances.
  • Monitoring adjustment – Keep a close eye on your children’s emotional well-being, being ready to make adjustments to the arrangement if they show signs of distress or confusion.

How to Implement Birdnesting Successfully 

how to implement birdnesting

Follow some of these tips to help make the transition more of a success:

  1. Develop a Detailed Plan

Define the primary objectives of birdnesting for your family. 

Are you aiming to provide stability for your children during a transitional period, or is it a longer-term arrangement?

Establish a timeline for how long you plan to birdnest, with regular check-ins to reassess the arrangement.

  1. Secure Suitable Living Arrangements

Ensure you and your ex-partner have comfortable and practical living spaces when not in the family home. 

These should be close enough to facilitate easy transitions.

Equip each living space with necessary furnishings and ensure they are maintained to avoid added stress.

  1. Set Up Clear Schedules

Create a detailed parenting schedule that specifies when each parent will stay in the family home. 

Ensure it is consistent and clearly communicated to all family members.

Develop a routine for transitioning between homes, making it as smooth and predictable as possible for the children.

  1. Establish Boundaries and House Rules

Clearly define household responsibilities, including cleaning, maintenance, and meal preparation, to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Respect each other’s personal space and privacy, especially in shared areas. Establish rules about what personal items can be left in the home.

  1. Maintain Effective Communication

Schedule regular check-ins between parents to discuss any issues, adjustments, or changes needed in the arrangement.

Develop a strategy for resolving conflicts, such as mediation or family counselling, to address issues promptly and constructively.

  1. Support Children’s Emotional Well-being

Maintain open and age-appropriate communication with your children about the birdnesting arrangement, explaining what to expect and addressing their concerns.

Regularly check in with your children to gauge their emotional well-being and adjust the arrangement as needed based on their feedback.

  1. Plan for the Long Term

Develop a clear plan for how and when to transition out of birdnesting. This may involve moving to separate homes or adjusting custody arrangements.

Periodically review the birdnesting arrangement to assess its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments based on the evolving needs of the family.

Experts in Family Law – Brown Turner Ross

Bird nesting can be a great option for those who are experiencing a divorce, although its effectiveness is dependent on a case-by-case basis.

We hope that this guide into the world of birdnesting can give you clarity and push you toward a suitable outcome for you and your needs.

If you’re currently experiencing birdnesting or considering implementing it, please contact us.

We’re experts in family law and have helped many families navigate their way through similar scenarios in the past.

Southport Solicitors

Tel: 0170-454 2002

Fax: 0170-454 3144

11 St George's Place

Lord Street



Liverpool Solicitors

Tel: 0151-236 2233

Fax: 0170-454 3144

The Cotton Exchange Building

Bixteth Street


L3 9LQ