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Will a shared home arrangement be best for your kids in divorce?

Like most good parents in North Dakota, when you decided to divorce, you determined to do whatever was necessary to help keep your children's stress levels as low as possible in the process. Your children's best interests are understandably your highest priority, and although you are eager to move forward to your new lifestyle, you also want to make sure your children receive all the love and support they need to help them in their own transitions.

Your kids may have mentioned right off the bat that they don't want to move to a new home. They like their current neighborhood and have well-established friendships in the area. Do you know there are support resources available that may help you meet their requests to stay put? A rising trend known as bird nesting has recently been featured in news headlines when Hollywood stars, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced they were giving their own version of the process a try.

What is it and how to determine if it's right for your family?

Bird nesting is often a viable choice for North Dakota parents who want to avoid disruption of normal routines in the children's lives as much as possible when they divorce. The following information explains the process and provides possible pros and cons to consider if you think you may want to consider bird nesting as an option:

  • Your children wouldn't have to move because the whole idea of bird nesting is for them to keep living in their same house while you and their other parent take turns living with them.
  • Children typically encounter many challenges when learning to live with only one parent at a time. If your kids are able to make this transition without having to also adapt to a new home, new town, new school, etc., it may be less stressful for them.
  • Not having to sell your house is a possible benefit of bird nesting. This may allow you to focus more on achieving a swift and amicable divorce settlement. You'd also avoid the whole leave-the-house-while-the-agent-shows-the-property stress that often accompanies home sales.
  • If you and your former spouse have trouble getting along, the bird nesting option may not be what's best for your family. You'll no doubt see your former spouse on much more personal terms than you might if your parenting plan involved a traditional custody and visitation arrangement. For instance, you might meet up at a local restaurant parking lot to transfer children to one home or the other in a visitation situation. You will come and go from the same home on a regular basis -- the home you shared in marriage -- in a nesting plan.

If you think you can separate your prior marital problems from your current co-parenting responsibilities, and you want to provide a sense of normalcy and routine in your children's lives, you may want to give bird nesting a try.

Many North Dakota parents find it helpful to discuss potential bird nesting plans or other possible parenting arrangements with experienced family law attorneys before heading to court. An attorney can also help resolve any legal problems that arise when a particular plan is already in place.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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