Parents in Texas who are going through a divorce and choose what is sometimes called “birdnesting” or “nesting” as a child custody arrangement might wonder how long they should keep the schedule in place. Nesting refers to when the children live full time in the family home while their parents take turns staying with them there. The rest of the time, parents live elsewhere, usually in a shared apartment. Most experts say this setup should not last more than three to six months.
Nesting can be a good way to offer children stability as they adjust to their parents’ divorce. However, as it goes on, they might start to think the arrangement means a reconciliation is likely. Sharing homes can also be difficult for parents even if the divorce is relatively amicable and could start to create conflict.
Whether they choose nesting, parents who put their children first can still create a stable environment for them that may make the adjustment to the divorce less difficult. They should talk honestly to their children about the situation. Parents should also try to avoid disrupting their kids’ routine and keep them in the same school. They should make an effort to have the same expectations in both households and help children keep relationships with family on both sides. Ex-spouses should avoid showing conflict or hostility toward one another.
It can also help children adjust if parents strive to make the divorce low in conflict. While this is not always possible, parents should try to set aside their differences and make an agreement about child custody and visitation that is in the best interest of the child. There are a few situations in which the child’s best interests are served by not seeing one parent. For example, if a parent is abusive, the court may agree to no contact or supervised visitation only.