Posted by: coachingparents | July 11, 2009

Jon and Kate plus Eight: Out of the marriage and into the bird nest?


By: Mike Mastracci  

The world looks on as Jon and Kate travel down the path to divorce. Those eight angels deserve stability along with the right and expectations to have two parents raise them. Both Jon and Kate Glosselin have indicated that they plan to take turns leaving the family home, a practice known in the divorce circles as “bird nesting” or simply “nesting.” This shared parenting practice has only recently started to gain broad acceptance, but with Jon and Kate in the lime-light it will likely emerge as a viable alternative to many tradition “visitation” arrangements.

The “research” is all over the map as to what is in the “best interests” of children caught in the middle of separation and divorce. Research clearly demonstrates that how a couple divorces is more telling than the divorce itself. It is always in the children’s best interests to have parents who can put their anger, bitterness and selfishness aside and demonstrate by their words and actions that they love their children more than they may dislike their ex. Nesting provides such an opportunity.  Generally speaking, the best schedule to follow is whatever works best for the kids and not necessarily what is most convenient for mom or dad.

For the very wealthy, as well as for the economically challenged, nesting can work well for everyone. The children did not ask for the divorce so why should they have to change houses, make new friends, lose old friends, change schools and go back and forth like a family Frisbee? When the family has money, each parent can have a new “freedom pad” for their own single life when they do not have the kids. When that parent does not have them, the other one will be back at the former marital home, “the nest,” with the children and exercising their parenting time. For the economically challenged, their “freedom pad” might be back to mom’s basement or on a trusted friend’s couch for a few days a week.

For the Glosselin family it would be nearly impossible to design a more traditional child access schedule such as every other weekend and a night or two during the week for the non-custodial parent. For anyone who has watched the show, the potential difficulties are all too obvious and such chaos would not likely be in anyone’s best interests. For varied reasons, some people don’t care for Jon, and for others, Kate is no great catch. But, give credit where credit is due.

Jon and Kate claim that they bought their dream house for the kids. It looks like they meant it.

Mike Mastracci is a nationally recognized family law attorney and is the author of the newly released and highly praised book, Stop Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations. He maintains a very popular family law Blog: www.DivorceWithoutDishonor.com  For more information visit www.StopFightingOverTheKids.com

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