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UK Courts increasingly recommending US-style 'shared custody'

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British Family Courts are increasingly urging separating couples to reach an agreement on ‘shared parenting’ – a model derived from US divorce legislation more commonly known as ‘birds nest custody’.

Following a typical divorce, the marital home is sold and parents will part to buy or rent separate properties, with one parent granted parental custody and the other granted regular visitation rights.

Children are then expected to come and go between both properties – which can be very disruptive to a child’s wellbeing, particularly if the child in question is of a young age.

But the ‘shared parenting’ model sees separated parents effectively share the custody of their children following a divorce, as opposed to granting one parent custody and the other visiting rights.

‘Birds nest custody’ involves parents moving in and out of the family home on a rotational basis and, in some cases, divorced parents will even share the family home in view of minimising costs.

A recent survey revealed that ‘birds nest custody’ has been on the rise in Britain in recent years, and almost a fifth of separated British couples said that, if they had the chance to face Courts again, they would opt for shared parenting over a traditional custody agreement.

British courts have been found to be increasingly recommending shared custody and many believe that the ‘birds nest’ trend is, in many cases, the sensible option for parents with young children.