Bird nesting: the new divorce trend

But does it really work?

Content Editor / September 14 2018

Bird-nesting is a term given to a co-parenting arrangement post-divorce, whereby the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns living there.

While the benefits for the children are clear – more stability, remaining in the family home and not having to switch back and forth between two houses – it can be tough on parents.

In an article on, writer and divorced mum of two, Sarah Bregel, describes what ‘bird-nesting’ is really like. She and her ex-husband take turns alternating between the family home and a small one-bedroom apartment close by.

When mum and dad swap homes

“It’s not easy to pack up a bag every few days and try to feel at peace in another living space, whether it’s coming back home or back to the apartment,” she writes.

“It also kind of sucks to be coping with all the emotions of separating, while simultaneously doing all this swapping.”

However, there’s an upside too – for starters, it saves a lot of money.

“We had already been struggling to pay our bills on time with two incomes,” Sarah shares. “Having to pay for a second three-bedroom home didn’t seem like something we could manage.”

Having a family home and a one-bedroom apartment is a lot cheaper than having two family homes, Sarah says.

“But more importantly, my kids don’t have the stress of moving in and out of their family home. Instead, that burden falls on me and their dad.”

A temporary solution

While Sarah’s ‘bird-nesting’ situation is temporary, for now, she says, it is a good interim solution, and one she hopes will help the children transition to the new situation more easily.

“The fact is, uncomfortable as it can be at times, the arrangement isn’t forever — in all likelihood, it’s only for a few more months. And right now, it’s working for us,” she says.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.

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