Custody schedules are different in every situation. Some parents exchange their children every other week. Some exchange them every few days, so they see them all through the week. Still, others will have the children live with one parent during the week and the other on the weekends.
But you may be considering something even more specific and geared around your family. Maybe you’re moving toward divorce and you can tell that the children don’t want to leave the home that they’ve grown to love. How can you set up a custody schedule so that they don’t have to?
You may consider bird-nesting
One tactic that you may want to keep in mind is birdnesting or “nesting.” Under this sort of agreement, the children do get to stay in their home all the time. You and your ex still have a custody schedule, but it tells you when to move into the house with the kids and when to move out so that your spouse can move in. The alternating schedule continues so that the children never change location, but you and your ex both do.
The one downside to this is that you still do need to have somewhere else to live when you don’t have custody. Some parents will decide to buy or rent a second home so that they can just trade places, which could be more affordable than two other, separate homes, but does risk the idea of privacy from your spouse as you would both rotate sharing the same space. You could also choose to buy or rent your own home, which sits empty when you have custody and you’re living with the kids.
So, while this is not a perfect solution for everyone, it can be very good in some situations. For some couples, it is an appropriate short-term solution to minimize changes for the children while the other incidents of the divorce are figured out, and then later on (when, for example, the marital home is sold), both parties and the children all transition out of the former home at the same time.
Whatever custody arrangement you are considering, make sure that you also think about the legal steps that will be necessary.