Divorcing spouses who live together with their children during the divorce may expose their children to conflict which could harm their children. One solution is for one spouse to move out of the house. Often, though, a spouse will not want to leave the house because doing so would mean leaving the children. In cases of high conflict where the spouses continue to reside together, the judge has three main options: 1) do nothing, 2) order one spouse to move out of the house, or 3) order the parties to follow a “birdnesting schedule.”
Birdnesting is where the children stay at the house but only one parent is at the house with them. Usually, the parents alternate blocks of days where each is at the house. For example, one parent would be at the house with the children on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other parent would be at the house with on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and then the parents would alternate weekends at the house.
There are many negatives with a birdnesting arrangement. Each parent may not have a place to go when he or she is not at the house. This will result in the extra cost of finding someplace to live. Also, each parent is living out of a suitcase. Additionally, each spouse usually feels a diminished sense of privacy over their personal belongings – the other spouse can go through the entire house when he/she is not there. There is a usually a problem with the condition of the house one spouse leaves it in; invariably, one spouse leaves it messy for the other spouse to clean. These are just a few examples; the list of complaints is long.
Insulating the children from parental conflict during the divorce should be a priority. The best solution is for the parents to avoid conflict in front of the kids. If this is not possible, then the judge could order a birdnesting schedule. Far from ideal, a birdnesting schedule does accomplish one crucial thing: it keeps the conflict away from the children.
The Botti Law Firm, P.C. has been serving DuPage and Cook County residents for nearly 50 years. We have vast experience handling cases involving divorce. If you would like to speak to one of our experienced attorneys, please email us or call (630) 573-8585 to schedule a free consultation.
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