Is there any reason to get legal custody of a child if the parents are separated but get along and have no visitation or support issues?

Yes, because one day difficulties will arise and then if the other parent petitions first that parent usually gets what they want. One day one of you might decide to get remarried and that will cause several disagreements. ----

As stated by the first answer, things can arise to create difficulties. But, this need not require the hiring of attorneys. WARNING: LONG WINDED OLD FART

An uncontested divorce or paternity action need not require the two of you to hire attorneys. You need only find a Certified Mediator, hack out the agreement, in detail, file it with the court, and set a hearing date. On that day the judge will swear both of you in, ask if you both agree to the terms set down in the document, than everyone signs it. Generally, there is a 30-60 day waiting period for the document to be recorded with the county and state registries.

The mediator will be a lawyer or paralegal, with specialized training. Each of you MUST pay half the fees. The fees could run from $200 to $1000, depending on the going rates in your area, and time spent on the document. Court fees could run $50 to $150, but if you are tight on money, you could request a waiver.

These are the things you NEED to cover in the document.

CUSTODY Soul Custody Joint Legal Custody Joint Physical Custody Bird Nest Custody (see below)


How close do you live to him?

How old is the child?

How often?

What specific weeks, or months?

What specific holidays on in a list of years, do each parent get the children?

What if the custodial parent wants to move out of state?


Who covers medical insurance?

Who decides on treatment?


How much?

Weekly, Bi-Weekly, or Monthly?

How Long? Eighteen, High School, or End of College

Do you split the cost of college?

What state(s) may they attend in?

What is the minimum amount of college credit hours the child must take?

Who gets the tax deduction(s)?

What if the child gets pregnant? Does child support stop?


If the residential parent dies, who gets the child? Never assume anything.


It's a form of access or custody where the children stay in the former family residence and it is the parents who rotate in and out separately and on a negotiated schedule.

The children simply live at "home" and the separated or divorced parents take turns living with them there, but never at the same time.

The core element of this arrangement is that each parent maintains a separate residence where they live when it is not their turn at the "bird's nest". When one parent arrives for his/her designated time, the other vacates right away, so as to minimize or eliminate the presence of both at the same time.

At times, bird's nest access can be coupled with specified access with the other parent say, for example, for dinner one night a week.

Sometimes, this form of access or custody will end when the youngest child reaches the age of majority at which time, one parent either buys the other out of their interest, if any, in the former family residence, or it is sold and the proceeds divided pursuant to the matrimonial property regime or separation agreement.

The arrangement can be expensive as it generally requires that three separate residences be maintained, the "nest" and a separate residence for each parent.

The concept is somewhat novel and appears to have as its origin a Virginia case Lamont v Lamont. In Canada, Greenough v Greenough was a ground-breaker case in that the Court implemented a bird's nest custody order even though it had not been asked for by either party. Justice Quinn, in Greenough stated:

"In Lamont ... the court made a bird's nest custody arrangement in which the children (aged 3 and 5 years) remained in the home, with the mother staying in the home during the week and the father on the weekend. I think that the benefits of a bird's nest order are best achieved where the children are able to stay in the matrimonial home, particularly if it has been the only residence that they have known....

"Time and time again I have seen cases (and this is one) where the children are being treated as Frisbees. In general, parents do not seem to appreciate the gross disruption to which children are subjected where one of the parents has frequent access. In this regard, I do not believe there must be evidence that the children are suffering before the court is free to act. To me, it is a matter of common sense. At the risk of falling prey to simplistic generalities, I am of the view that, given a choice, I do not see why anyone would select a living arrangement which involved so much movement from house to house." See link below

May I ask why the divorce or separation? It's very important that the child(ren) have both parents in the home. Is there nothing that can be done to preserve this?

See links below

Stanford University Divorce, Nontraditional Families, and Its Consequences For Children

"We know that children of divorced parents have more emotional and behavioral problems and do less well in school than children who live with both their Parent."

Fortune Magazine: Crime & Fatherless Families

"Ominously, the most reliable predictor of crime is neither poverty nor race but growing up fatherless."

Stay Married & Save The Planet


How I divide my life between my divorced parents' homes. By Charlotte Juerge - Newsweek Web Exclusive - Dec 15, 2008

Father Makes Two - Time Magazine

By Margot Roosevelt Sunday, Nov. 11, 2003

Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess Up Their Kids

Ten Stupid Things Couples do to Mess up Their Relationships

The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

Fatherless America : Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem