Parents in Florida who decide to divorce may be looking for custody options that allow them to support their children through the confusion that can come with a parental divorce. Many people are opting for joint or shared custody in which both parents have roughly equal time with and responsibility for the children. In general, kids will move back and forth between their parents’ homes and have a room and space in both houses. However, even though joint custody protects the parent-child relationship with both parents, it can still be a major shock for children. They are leaving the family home and may feel a sense of instability, particularly at first.

As a result, some divorcing parents are considering “birdnesting” as a transitional child custody choice. Instead of each parent moving to his or her own home, the children remain in the family home while the parents rent a separate apartment. On a weekly or other regular basis, the parents rotate between the home and the apartment while the kids stay in place. This can help to ease the transition immediately following the divorce, supporting children’s sense of stability in their home and parental relationships. However, birdnesting requires a very high level of communication and is best suited for couples separating amicably.

Birdnesting is more of a transition than a permanent solution. Many experts advise that three to six months is the maximum recommended period. Beyond that point, it could actually add to children’s confusion as they may retain hope for their parents to reconcile.

Parents who are considering divorce may not be aware of all of the options available for child custody and visitation. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing parent to protect the parent-child relationship and negotiate a parenting plan that reflects the needs of the family.