Traditionally, just one parent – usually the mother – was awarded child custody, while the other parent could only occasionally visit the kids. This typically followed a pattern of Wednesday evenings, alternate weekends and holidays, and a portion of summer vacations.
However, courts have started realizing the importance of providing children the meaningful access to both the parents. This allows greater stability for children and improves their ability to cope better with their parents’ separation. In fact, some states have also passed laws advocating joint custody in the best interest of children in which the care, responsibilities, and decision-making are shared between the parents. However, exceptions to this rule also exist, for instance when physical/mental abuse is present on either side. In case of liberal visitation or joint custody, the parents may accept a creative housing option, working for both of them.
One approach that parents may adopt to avoid their child’s disruption is to minimize the duration of transition that the child has to bear between two homes. Usually, in joint-custody cases, a child may reside at one home for a week or more and then move in with another parent. Consequently, nesting distributes the burden on both the parents as it shuffles the child’s living back and forth.
The parents may opt to maintain the family unit even when they are separated or divorced. Thereby, they reside in the shared home while living in separate bedrooms.
In certain situations, the parent may not live together, but one or both parents may prefer house-sharing with another compatible person(s) to raise their children together. They can also allow another adult to live in the house to help after separation, divorce or death of a partner.
A parenting plan may address a child’s housing situations, upbringing, and other relevant matters as well as parent’s roles and responsibilities. It typically remains flexible to keep it adaptable to the child’s varying needs and desires with time.
Individuals seeking assistance regarding child custody and their housing options may approach a family lawyer for expert advice. The legal specialist can explain their rights and existing family laws in the jurisdiction to better cope with the situation.