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Sell the house after divorce, or let your kids keep living in it?

Raising children in Alaska or anywhere is not for the faint of heart in modern society. However, most parents describe their journeys as rewarding and satisfying albeit not without various challenges along the way. One challenge many parents in this and other states are currently facing has to do with divorce. If you're preparing to, or have recently gone through divorce, you're likely focused on the impact it may have or has had on your children.

So many issues need resolved when married parents decide to end their relationships. If you're most concerned about future living arrangements and causing your children stress by having to go back and forth between two households, you may want to consider an alternate form of co-parenting known as bird nesting.

The pros and cons

Bird nesting isn't a new idea, but it has regained exposure with more and more parents choosing it as an option in recent years. It's definitely not for everyone though, so you may want to consider how such an arrangement would directly impact your family before deciding whether or not to give it a try. The following list of benefits and downsides others have experienced may help you make an informed decision:

  • A major plus in a bird nesting arrangement is that you don't have to sell your house. Dealing with real estate issues on top of divorce and family matters related to your personal situation can send stress levels through the roof. Bird nesting allows you to eliminate all stress associated with selling your home.
  • Another positive aspect of bird nesting is that your kids can maintain a sense of normalcy and routine as they adapt to their new lifestyle following your divorce. That's because they will continue to live in the house you shared as a family during your marriage while you and your former spouse take turns living with them.
  • State laws vary regarding parenting plans, child support and other custody issues. It's critical to seek clarification of Alaska regulations before entering a bird nesting agreement.
  • A downside to this type of co-parenting plan is that you have to secure other living arrangements for the times when it's not your turn to stay with your children. This may pose a financial problem in some cases.
  • Another negative point may be that if either you or your former spouse enter new relationships, the significant parties on the other side may not be so thrilled about your bird nesting arrangement even though you and your ex do not live with the children at the same time.
  • You might be very happy about the fact that you won't have to transport your children's belongings, such as sports equipment, school supplies or other personal items, back and forth between separate households. You also won't have to come up with a plan for drop-offs and pick-ups because your children will be staying put.

Some Alaska parents may find that after trying a bird nesting arrangement, they want to pursue other options because it doesn't work out the way they'd hoped it would. The good news is your parenting plan is not necessarily permanent; you may petition the court for modification of an existing plan if specific life issues warrant a change.

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733 W. Fourth Avenue, Suite 206
Anchorage, AK 99501

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