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Child custody in Rhode Island: Is birdnesting a possibility?

When parents in Rhode Island divorce, a parenting plan will be established. For example, if parents have joint custody, the child may move between each parent's home, perhaps living with one parent during some days of the week and the other parent on the other days of the week. Some parents may worry that such transitions are hard on their child. Therefore, they may opt for a different type of child custody arrangement: birdnesting.

In birdnesting, it is not the child that moves between homes, but the parents. The child will stay in one home, and one parent will live with the child in the home for certain days, and, on other days, the other parent will live in the home with the child. It is hoped that without having to transition between homes, the child may feel less stress after a divorce.

Each couple's divorce is unique, so it is hard to tell whether birdnesting will work for them. One pro is that birdnesting provides the child with a stable home. However, a con is that birdnesting requires each spouse to interact with their ex, which may be difficult, especially if the divorce was not amicable.  Another drawback is that one may feel a loss of privacy in their home knowing that the other parent will be in the house and able to go through mail and drawers.  Often the cost of maintaining two other residences is prohibitive to many Rhode Islanders.  Parents will have to weigh these pros and cons when deciding whether they will opt for birdnesting over more traditional child custody options.

In the end, any child custody arrangement must be made in a way that is in the best interests of the child. Some children may benefit from birdnesting, while others may not. Joint custody may be possible for some, while sole custody may be the only option for others. In the end, parents know their children best and their own parenting capabilities after a divorce, and they can develop a child custody arrangement that meets everyone's needs.

Source: Pop Sugar, "This May Be the Most Interesting 'Divorce Trend' We've Ever Heard Of," Alessia Santoro, May 6, 2016

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