For many parents in Atlanta who make the decision to divorce, the end of their marriage can be accompanied by a great deal of concern for their children’s reaction to the split. Child custody, along with property division and other financial issues, can be one of the most contentious and difficult portions of any divorce.

Some divorcing couples attempt to deal with these concerns using an approach to joint child custody called “bird nesting.” This is a form of shared custody in which the family’s children remain in the family home on an ongoing basis while the parents move in and out weekly for their custody time. During the weeks that they do not have custody, the parents might switch in and out of an apartment, stay with family or set up their own residences elsewhere. This allows the children to remain in their home, a familiar environment, while processing the changes in their lives.

For some parents, bird nesting can also help to address some property division issues. For example, in a rented home, the parents may need the lease to expire before renting new places. When the parents need to sell the home as part of the divorce settlement, they may find it advantageous to keep the house on the market for a longer period, accumulate equity in the home or wait for market prices to increase in the neighborhood. Either way, bird nesting is typically a temporary solution, and parents then transition their children to a more traditional joint custody arrangement.

Divorcing parents may be confused about the next steps to take to protect themselves and their children while going through the end of a marriage. A family law attorney may provide counsel and representation to a divorcing parent in matters related to child custody, property division issues and other aspects of the divorce.