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Child custody arrangements have changed in recent decades

Traditionally, when a couple divorced, the children primarily lived with their mother, and the father was awarded some sort of visitation. However, in recent decades, this traditional model of child custody has diminished in favor of joint custody, co-parenting and now birdnesting. California parents now have more say than ever in how they continue to raise their children after they divorce.

California readers might already be comfortable with the concept of co-parenting, but birdnesting might be something with which they are not yet entirely familiar. This new and unique arrangement allows the children to remain in the family home 100 percent of the time. Instead of moving the children back and forth between households, it is the parents who take turns living in the home with the children.

One source makes the valid -- and seemingly obvious -- point that this arrangement will not work for everyone since the parents have to enjoy an extraordinarily amicable post-divorce relationship. These are the parents who take vacations together and spend holidays together as a family. Like Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex-husband Chris Martin, these couples acknowledge that they are bound together as parents, but are no longer romantically involved.

In order for this type of child custody arrangement to succeed, the parents need to negotiate and execute a comprehensive parenting plan. The plan would involve much more than simply outlining a living schedule and could even include the living arrangements of the parent who is not with the children since maintaining three households could be a financial burden. However, if that is what works for a particular family, then the parties need only document their agreement and present it to the court. So long as it does not violate current law or public policy, the parties are generally able to make any arrangements they choose.

Source: romper.com, "Is Birdnesting Good For Kids? The New Post-Divorce Arrangement Puts Kids First", Alana Romain, May 2, 2016

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