As a divorce lawyer with 31 years of experience, I daily witness the damage that children suffer because their parents put them in the middle of the fight. Children become a pawn in a competition to inflict pain and blame on the other party. Some parents unscrupulously use custody or time with the children as a negotiation ploy. Many parents turn the children into buddies and alienate the other parent. The sad thing is that a parent may succeed in manipulating the children to be on their side, but they are likely to be unwittingly causing harm to the children by depriving them of a healthy and loving relationship with the other parent.
I have no view into the reasons for the breakup of the Jon and Kate union, but it appears they are going to great lengths to keep the children clear of the battle. They appear to have chosen to let their children stay in the home they have built for them and rotate themselves in and out of the house instead of the children. This is known as “bird’s nest” visitation. In contrast, traditional custody arrangements call for the children to move from house to house. One Canadian Judge likened this to the children being treated like “frisbees.” He held that since the parents had caused the conflict they should have to move in and out of the home instead of the children. Greenough v. Greenough, (Ontario 2003).
The pros and cons of bird’s nest visitation can be debated. One problem with it is that it requires the maintenance of three homes instead of two. A benefit of it is that the children see minimal disruption in their home life and never have to leave their own home. As a temporary measure, at least, it seems to be a great way to lessen the shock of the separation of the parents. One thing is for sure, parents who try this measure seem to be putting the children first and not in between.