Divorced Parents Split Time in Same Home

ByABC News via GMA logo
May 30, 2006, 8:42 AM

May 30, 2006— -- When Al and Annie Garcia decided to split after 20 years of marriage, they were left with a difficult but familiar question: What about the kids?

They came up with a novel plan to keep the dream house they had bought together, but then take turns staying there with the children.

"I wouldn't want to have the traditional thing where I would live here and the kids would come visit me," Al Garcia said. "They wouldn't like that, and I wouldn't like that for the kids."

"I think it's their birthright to have as much stability as possible, and I think staying in the house provided at least as much as we could give," Annie Garcia said.

Since their separation four years ago, Annie, a flight attendant, and Al, a sales executive, have been alternating nights at the family house where their kids were raised.

When they're not on "parent duty," they shuttle back and forth to a condominium they share just three miles away. Marriage and parenting experts have nicknamed the unusual arrangement "bird nesting."

The Garcias said that their arrangement had helped to provide stability for their children, but the couple have had to adapt to the hectic, revolving-door lifestyle.

"I'm taking off. Going on a two-day trip," Annie said, on a video diary she and her family made about their situation. "Al should be over in about 15 minutes."

"Annie was supposed to be in at 6 and she got delayed because of the weather," Al said in his video diary. "I'll be checking out, and she'll be checking in."

Al said that the key to making it work was "open channels of communication."