Your child is a teenager, so you sit down and talk with them when you and your spouse decide to get divorced. You explain it to them and tell them that you want them to have a voice. After all, their best interests are your top priority.
What they express to you is that they want things to stay as much the same as possible. They still want to see both you and your ex. They want to live in the same home, near the same friends, and go to the same school. They understand that you want to end your relationship, but they want life to feel stable. Is this possible?
It certainly can be, and one tactic to do it is called birdnesting. It starts by keeping the family home, where you live now, and telling your child that they’ll get to stay in it 100% of the time. They don’t even have to move out of their room, much less to a new house. You and your ex will split the costs of keeping the home.
How do you share custody in this situation? You simply move in and out. You and your ex can both find second homes (or apartments, if that’s easier) that are close to your family home. If you have custody of your child, you spend that time living with them in the main home. When it’s your ex’s turn to have custody, you go to your second home and they move in with your child. This is essentially like traditional custody, where the children move, but the parents take on the hassle of moving so that the kids don’t have to do so.
Now, this is often an expensive option. You don’t get to sell the family home. You have to divide up those costs. You also have to get a second home or apartment, and so does your ex. This only works for couples with a substantial income.
If you’re more worried about your child than money, though, and if you have enough income to make it work, this is one of the simplest child custody arrangements you can use. It makes it easy to put your child’s needs first and to give them the stability they want, along with a relationship with both parents. Be sure you know the legal steps needed to get everything set up.