‘Bird’s nest’ parenting, a step too far or a welcome creative solution for the modern day family?
The concept of “bird’s nest” parenting has stormed the headlines with the Telegraph reporting a trend with separated couples in the UK adapting a creative approach to shared parenting.
The idea originated from USA and involves children living permanently in one house, while their parents move in and out around them. “Bird’s nest” parenting promotes the idea of the children having one base to call their home and aims at children of the family moving between homes. I would tend to agree that there should always be scope for a degree of flexibility with arrangements but that should be carefully balanced to promote routine and structure for children. Of course, the concept will not be everyone’s idea of smooth parenting and I suspect that many separated parents may view this as counterproductive.
As a family law solicitor, I am encouraged when parties work together and accept that in the spirit of compromise, there may need to be an element of give and take with arrangements to best meet a child needs. I would always try to promote parties reaching an agreement amicably without the courts involvement but I am also aware that one size does not fit all and “bird’s nest” parenting’ may actually cause more conflict between parties.
The court has tended to agree that a balance must be struck between flexibility and structure although, as the situation stands, the UK court have not stepped in to make orders to facilitate “bird’s nest” arrangements.
That being said, the court has been keen to recognise the concept of ‘shared’ care but importantly, it must be remembered that the court operates a “no order principle”. In other words, the court will always encourage parents to reach an agreement together without the court becoming involved. If this agreement involves “bird’s nest” parenting then who are we to criticise.
It can be a daunting prospect for any parent to negotiate with an ex-partner or engage in the court process to deal with child arrangements. Having the benefit of sound legal advice will help reduce stress and anxiety to help parties reach an agreement focussed on the welfare of any child.