Nesting is a form of parenting arrangement that allows the children to stay in the family home while the parents take turns as the primary caretakers. One week one parent will live in the family home, the next the other parent takes over.
This arrangement does not work for every couple going through a divorce. Those who are considering such an arrangement should ask themselves these two questions first: is communication an issue and is the divorce contentious?
Can I communicate with the other parent?
This arrangement requires a good deal of communication. Parents must communicate about any potential issues. Examples include:
- The divorce itself. This type of arrangement is most often present when parents divorce using collaborative methods like mediation or arbitration. Courts do not generally impose a nesting arrangement. Instead, this is put together by the parents. As a result, parents that can communicate through the divorce process itself are more likely to have a successful nesting relationship.
- State of the home. The arrangement works best when communication is strong for even relatively simple matters, like cleaning arrangements within the family home. Perhaps one parent has a lower standard of cleanliness than the other. Parents need to communicate these frustrations in a constructive manner.
If communication is an issue, you may find more success with a traditional parenting arrangement.
Is this a high-conflict divorce?
A New York Times article discussed the nesting arrangement, noting that this option does not work well in high conflict divorces. The arrangement can require parents to interact on a regular basis, often in front of the children. The harm of repeated contentious discussions during these interactions may outweigh the benefit of the children staying in the family home.
Is nesting right for my parenting arrangement after divorce?
Proponents of this arrangement state that it provides the children some stability. Children get to sleep in the same bed in the same room, get ready in the same bathroom and go to school on the same route they took before the divorce, potentially easing the transition after the divorce. Critics note that this option is really only available for the wealthy. Instead of paying for two homes those who choose this arrangement generally have three different living arrangements.
Whether considering nesting or another form of parenting arrangement, those who are navigating a divorce are wise to seek legal counsel. Your attorney can discuss this, and other available parenting arrangements, as well as discussing related questions such as protecting finances during divorce and if moving after divorce to save money helping guide you through the process and structure an agreement that is more likely to meet your needs.