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Unusual lifestyle arrangements in Ontario child custody

It's come to be known as bird-nesting when a divorced couple decide that their children should remain in the family home while each ex-spouse alternates living there as well. Well-intentioned parents who feel that the marriage may be over but the family isn't may choose nesting as a way to acclimatize the children to divorce realities. Ontario courts would likely award joint child custody in a nesting agreement geared towards providing stability to the children of divorced parents.

But it's complicated. Accounts and testimonials by parents who have opted for nesting arrangements run the gamut from "difficult-but-doable" to "what-were-we-thinking." Current child psychology views the absence of conflict between parents, not the family home, as the predominant factor driving a child's sense of well-being. On the other hand, children staying put is a strong argument for easing them through such a life-altering transition.

The relative novelty of bird-nesting children while in the midst of divorce proceedings or once divorce is formalized should encourage parents to carefully assess its pros and cons. Not just time schedules but housekeeping and finances need to be agreed upon and consistently followed. The agreement should also project changes over time, such as one or the other parent bringing a new partner into the shared family space.

A family law practitioner whose experience encompasses a vast range of situations encountered when an Ontario couple decides to divorce could offer clarity among the many options. Settling upon what's best for the children is a parent's most agonizing decision. Securing legal counsel well versed in child custody arrangements, whether novel or traditional, may be of great benefit.

Source:, "Is ???birdnesting??? the stupidest ??? or smartest ??? divorce trend yet?", Anna Davies View, Accessed on Sept. 16, 2017

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