Parents in Arizona who are considering divorce may be particularly concerned about how post-marriage life will affect their children. Even if a divorce is amicable, kids can face a difficult transition when leaving the family home. An increasing number of families — and family court judges — prefer joint or shared custody, which keeps both parents active in the child’s life on a roughly equal basis. However, this can still be disruptive as children move back and forth between their parents’ homes on a weekly basis.

Therefore, some divorcing couples are looking for a way to provide a gentler transition for their children. For some, “birdnesting” is such a solution. In this child custody arrangement, the children stay in the family home. Meanwhile, the parents also rent another apartment, and they each cycle through the apartment and the home to spend their custody time with their children. This system helps to keep expenses down in the immediate post-divorce stage. It can be useful when children are completing their school year or adjusting emotionally.

However, birdnesting is only advised for a short period — three to six months at maximum. Children might get confused and believe that their parents are likely to reconcile. In addition, this custody arrangement is best suited for parents going through an amicable separation. The level of communication and sharing of space required with birdnesting is far greater than that in traditional joint custody arrangements.

There are a number of child custody arrangements that can benefit each individual family and its needs. A family law attorney can help a divorcing parent negotiate a parenting plan that covers issues such as child support and visitation.