27 July 2023

A new term is being used to describe one way that parents can manage co-parenting their children on separation – ‘birdnesting’.

It is a concept where parents rotate living in the family home while the children remain in their familiar and stable environment. The aim is to minimise disruption for the children so that they can maintain their daily routines, schools and friendships.

The advantages

The children don’t have the stress of shuttling between two properties.

The children’s travelling to school and routine remains the same, they continue to be near their friends.

The children don’t need to pack overnight bags, there is no risk of school books or kit being in the ‘wrong’ home.

The children remain in their family home and with that comes a sense of stability and security.

As a short-term solution, it allows the children to transition to their new domestic set up, getting used to being parented by one parent at a time.

It encourages effective co-parenting as it requires communication, co-operation and trust between the adults. The focus is on the children.

It allows the parents to ‘buy time’ to consider the long-term co-parenting plan and allows time to sort out the financial logistics of the separation or divorce

A cost benefit; two homes may not immediately be needed, the parent when not in the ‘family home’ can rent temporary single accommodation or stay with family or friends.

The disadvantages

It is halfway house situation which does not help children process the reality of their parent’s separation, it could be confusing for them.

Who pays for what in the family home and how will the logistics of running that home be agreed? The concept of being financially independent following separation is blurred.

Trust, privacy, and respect for the other parent may be compromised particularly when one of the parents starts dating.

It may prevent the parents from being able to create their own life, to cope with the change and to move on. They may feel they are in limbo.

They may not have the financial resources or support networks to make it work, it may not be practical if, for instance, one of the parents works away, long or unsocial hours.

Is it for you?

There are short-term benefits to this approach but whether it is a viable long-term plan requires a great deal of sacrifice and compromise. To work there needs to be clear and detailed rules which are adhered to and, most of all, parents who can truly co-parent.

For more information on divorce and separation or child matters, please contact Lesley Powell on 01935 846089 or email