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Divorcing couples opt to keep the family home

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Written by: christinahoghton
19/04/2016
‘Bird's nest’ custody is taking off in the UK, as couples who split up choose to keep the children in the family home.

A new shared custody arrangement dubbed ‘bird’s nest custody’ is becoming more popular in the UK, according to new research from Co-op Legal Services.

It said that over a tenth (11%) of the UK’s separated and divorced adults haven’t followed ‘traditional’ child custody arrangements. Instead, they allowed their children to remain in their family home and they moved in and out of the house.

And over two-thirds of those separating agree that this new ‘bird’s nest’ child custody arrangement will become more common, as it causes less disruption to the lives of their children.

More than a fifth (16%) of divorced and separated adults said if they had the chance again, they would put such an agreement in place, with half (52%) admitting that keeping their children in the family home would have caused less upset and upheaval.

Bird’s nest custody benefits

A third (34%) agreed it would have been beneficial for their children to have stayed close to their friends and a further third (31%) said this would have made the divorce transition easier.

Almost a fifth (18%) said they wouldn’t have had to sell their house at a time where the housing market was weak.

And surprisingly, over half (51%) of UK’s divorced adults said that they would be willing to accept their ex’s new partner in their marital home.

Tracey Moloney, head of private family at Co-op Legal Services, said: “Traditionally, where couples separate and have shared custody of their children, the marital home is sold and both parents each purchase or rent a new property. The children are then expected to move between both properties depending on whether they are at ‘mum’s’ or ‘dad’s’.

“What we’re starting to see is a new custody arrangement emerging where instead of disrupting the children’s home life, the parents do the moving.

“Moving from one parent’s property to another can be difficult for children. With this new custody arrangement, parents move in and out of the marital home depending on when they have custody of their children.”

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