How “Birdnesting” Can Help Families Through Divorce and Real Estate Crises

One of the most significant questions in a divorce proceeding has always been the disposition of the family home. Particularly, when the family residence is the couple’s largest asset, and they need to sell the home to help manage the financial impacts of divorce.

However, the combination of divorce and moving homes can create a lot of stress on the family. This was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and all the changes it has brought to both the real estate market and our daily lives.

Now more than ever, it is important to consider creative solutions to handle real estate crises during divorce, like the new and popular concept of “birdnesting”.


The Benefits of Birdnesting

Birdnesting is when spouses alternate sharing the family home. The children remain in the same home with the same routines, while parents swap between the family home and a smaller space, like a small and affordable apartment.

For many families, birdnesting is beneficial from financial, emotional, and psychological perspectives. The concept has become widely popular amongst families who want to mitigate the sudden impact of divorce on their children. No more leaving homework assignments or schoolbooks at one parent’s home, disrupting sleep schedules, or creating distance between children and their regular routines like school, friends, and sports.


The Downfalls and Variations of Birdnesting

While birdnesting can be deeply beneficial for the children of the marriage, and by extension for the whole family, it is not always affordable and has become even less so in a time of soaring home prices, higher interest rates, and record housing insecurity. And while the pandemic has created an extreme housing shortage and increased prices, this is not the first and will not be the last housing crisis. Multiple real estate acquisitions are not possible in such a climate for many divorcing couples.

Consequently, variations and refinements to classic birdnesting can reap even more benefits for a family following divorce in a difficult real estate market. Some families have chosen to create separate spaces within the family home. For example, one parent may reside in the master bedroom, while the other creates an apartment-like space in the basement. In other cases, the family creates a separate space above the garage, or in a guest bedroom. Whatever the circumstances may be, some families find this to be the most sensible set up in the interim.


The Reality

All things considered, it is important to recognize that not all families can realistically achieve birdnesting. If you and your co-parent have difficulties getting along, it may be best to explore the more traditional routes of selling the family home to purchase two separate smaller spaces for each parent.

If you and your co-parent choose to attempt birdnesting, it is imperative to come up with written and signed agreements. These agreements should include how the living setup will be executed, along with how household responsibilities and bills will be split up. The TNS Family Law attorneys can assist you in drafting a legally sound contract to avoid ambiguity and contention.

Questions about divorce or birdnesting? Please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

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