One of the moms featured in The Real Housewives of Orange County is modeling a post-divorce style of shared parenting that seems remarkable for its emphasis on the children -- even if it isn't for everybody.
Reality TV star Gina Kirschenheiter and her husband are almost finished with their divorce -- but their living situation looks remarkably similar to what it did before the divorce ever started. Despite asking for sole physical custody of the couple's three children, the celebrity mom has continued to cohabitate with her soon-to-be ex-husband in the house they shared during their marriage.
The celebrity mom and her husband do each maintain a separate residence in order to have their private space. Her husband has an apartment, and she has a casita (a type of small house). The couple rotates their time with the kids in the house they once shared. The mother currently spends the weekdays with the children and the weekends in her casita, while the father does the opposite -- which also accommodates his work schedule.
The celebrity mom points out that this isn't always an easy method of handling the situation. It is difficult, she acknowledges, to have to shift her personal belongings back and forth between homes every week. Yet, she feels that doing so is -- for her -- just an inconvenience. For the kids, who are all still 5 years of age and under, it could be emotionally upsetting on a regular basis. This method allows the children to have maximum stability, even as their parents' relationship changes dramatically.
While experts say that this model of parenting, which some refer to as "bird nesting," is still uncommon, it has gained increasing support over the last decade. Since this celebrity split is bringing the method of parenting after a divorce into the public's eye, it may become even more popular.
Just the same, it's important to understand that this style of parenting together after a divorce isn't for everyone. Eventually, couples may find it necessary to go for a more traditional model of child custody and living situation in order to move on.
Whatever your child custody goals after a divorce, an attorney can help you understand your options.