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Bird nesting may be best left to the birds when splitting up

A new custody trend among separating Pennsylvania couples is generating interest across the social and legal spectrum. Known as "bird nesting," it is providing an alternative solution to the question of where the affected parties will live.

Simply stated, bird nesting means that a home is provided for the children and parents take turns residing there. While the arrangement can be advantageous to the children, there can also be disadvantages that may make this practice less appealing to some.

One of the positive aspects is that it alleviates the urgency of selling the home or terminating a lease agreement. If the real estate market is in a slump, homeowners can wait for prices to go back up. Property obtained during the marriage or that has sentimental value can then be divided up without the owners feeling pushed.

On the negative side, each parent needs to have an alternative living space available for the times in which the other will be residing in the home. This can be financially burdensome for those who may not have friends or family with whom they can bunk. In other instances, a parents may not feel that the ex is doing his or her fair share of the load as far as keeping up with household chores or property maintenance.

Regardless of the living arrangements, ending a marriage or significant relationship can be stressful. The property division process, which includes dealing with bank accounts, real estate and business property, can be especially tempestuous. Therefore, it's often a good idea to for a future ex to seek the services of a lawyer who is experienced in all aspects of family and marital law.

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