Many parents considering divorce in New Jersey are concerned about how their decisions will affect their children. Families often have two involved parents who hate to lose time with their children. However, joint custody solutions, in which both parents share roughly equal time with the children and responsibility for decision-making, are increasingly popular. In most cases, children move back and forth on a weekly or semi-weekly basis between their parents’ homes.

The adjustment period immediately following a divorce can be difficult for the children, especially because it may involve a number of changes. For example, they may need to change schools or alter their schedules. As a result, parents are often looking for ways to make the transition less traumatic or painful for their children. Some are looking at “birdnesting” as a way to move toward joint custody while preserving stability for the children. In this type of custody, parents relocate in and out of the family house while the children remain there.

In general, birdnesting parents share an apartment, switching back and forth between it and the family home for custody time. Because this agreement requires a high level of communication and a shared lifestyle, it is best suitable for amicable couples. Others may find themselves in the same cycle of arguments that can be more upsetting for the children. In any case, birdnesting usually lasts for around three to six months. Past that point, it can be confusing for children who expect their parents to reconcile and resume their relationship.

It’s understandable for soon-to-be exes to be worried about how divorce might affect the parent-child relationship. A family law attorney could help a divorcing parent understand the options available and negotiate a parenting plan with the other party addressing child custody, visitation and support.