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Would you be willing to share a house with your former spouse?

For Florida parents like yourself, one of the highest priorities in divorce is making sure the children's best interests remain a central focus of all proceedings, especially those involving custody, support and visitation issues. When you discussed your divorce plans with your kids, you assured them first, that it wasn't their fault and next, that you would be there to support them as you all learn to adapt to a new lifestyle.

With that in mind, you determined in your own mind to cooperate and compromise wherever needed to help forge a smooth transition for your children. Your biggest concern was where your children should live once the court finalizes your divorce. You adamantly believe that they will fare better if you're able to maintain a sense of routine and normalcy in their lives — in short, the less upheaval, the better.

Enter, co-parenting and bird nesting arrangements

A rising trend throughout the nation involves letting children remain in the home their parents shared during marriage post-divorce while parents take turns living with them. If a major priority in your divorce is minimizing the amount of changes your children must endure, this type of plan may be a viable option for you. The following list includes potential pros and cons of bird nesting in divorce that can help you determine if it's a good fit for your family:

  • One of the biggest benefits of a co-parenting and nesting arrangement in divorce is that half your battle is already won when it comes to dividing parenting time between spouses. Instead of transporting your children back and forth between houses (and trying to keep track of all the school supplies, sports equipment and personal belongings that they take with them) your children simply stay put and the only belongings you have to keep tabs on are your own.
  • A definite possible downside to bird nesting is that it often presents unexpected emotional challenges. On one hand, you want to move forward in life, leaving the past (and your intimate relationship with your former spouse) behind you; that might not be so easy when that person's clothes, toiletries and other personal items are still in your house, not to mention that if you don't have separate rooms, you'll actually be sleeping in a bed that your former spouse still shares, albeit at separate times.
  • On the upside, you wouldn't have to sell your house if you enter a bird nesting agreement. This one potential benefit is enough to make many people want to try it because most people know how stressful trying to sell a house during a divorce can be.

Bird nesting is definitely not the best choice in all situations. The bottom line is that you are the only one who can determine if this type of co-parenting plan would align with your own emotional state, needs and goals when you divorce. No post-divorce situation is perfect and there are various legal issues that can arise in a nesting situation that could throw a well-intentioned plan off course (i.e., What happens if a former spouse refuses to help with mortgage payments or doesn't adhere to the agreed plan for maintenance and upkeep of the home?).

To quickly resolve major obstacles when they arise, many Florida parents turn to experienced family law attorneys for support.

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