Should Your Family Try Nesting?
What Is Nesting and Should You Try It?
Did you know that roughly half of all children will end up witnessing the end of their parents’ marriage? With so many families dealing with divorce, many people are rethinking the traditional divorce living arrangement that requires the child to move back and forth between two homes. Nesting is a new type of arrangement that is becoming increasingly popular.
What Is Nesting?
Nesting is one of the types of divorce living arrangements that some families use following a separation. Nesting is used in cases where parents want to share custody but do not want to cause excessive change to their child’s current life. In nesting, the parents let the child live in one place while the parents move in and out of that place in accordance with their custody arrangement. The nesting process typically follows these steps:
- The parents create a child custody plan that involves them sharing custody.
- The parents designate a home space, or “nest,” where the child will spend their time; it’s usually the original family home.
- The parents get one additional living space to share, or they each get their own individual living space.
- During their custodial time, the parent goes to live with the child in the nest.
- The parent without custody goes to live in the other living space.
- Parents alternate between living with the child in a single home and spending their noncustodial time living independently.
Benefits of Nesting
To see whether nesting is a good idea for your situation, it is helpful to consider the pros and cons of nesting. This type of arrangement is becoming increasingly popular because it has many benefits for families going through a divorce. Here are just a few:
- Your child does not have the hassle of having to pack up belongings and move clothes back and forth all the time.
- Living in one place may make it easier for your child to coordinate their social life and school extracurricular activities.
- You provide your child with stability during an emotionally tense time.
- It may make financial sense for you to keep your marital home instead of trying to sell it and split the proceeds.
- Keeping your marital home lets you spend at least some of your time in the lifestyle that you are accustomed to.
- It can be cheaper to have one large home and one small apartment instead of trying to pay for two medium-sized homes.
To sum it all up, nesting is mostly a good idea for your children’s mental health. When discussing the idea of divorce, the biggest concern for most children is “where will I live?” Being able to provide your child with a stable routine and a secure living space can help them feel safe and cared for during a time with a lot of changes. Nesting can be especially helpful in the early stages of divorce when your child might be feeling especially stressed and uncertain.
Potential Downsides of Nesting
Of course, nesting is very helpful, but it does have some potential issues to be aware of. Here are a few other things to think about:
- It will require you to communicate more with your ex, making it harder to have a clean break.
- You and your ex will need to agree on things like bills, groceries, and tax deductions.
- If you split a living space with your ex, you will need to be comfortable with having reminders of them in your new home.
- It can be hard to retain your privacy or start a new family while still in the middle of a nesting situation.
- Calculating child support can be difficult, since both parents may technically be living together still.
Essentially, you have to decide whether you and your ex will be mature enough to handle more contact with each other. The financial and legal side of your divorce can get a little more complicated, so you might need to spend some time making more precise arrangements with your divorce lawyer. Nesting usually only works in situations where everyone can create clear boundaries and respect these guidelines.
Should You Try Nesting?
As you can see, nesting is a great living arrangement, but it does not work for everyone. To figure out whether nesting is right for your entire family, you need to consider a number of different factors.
It’s important to think about your children’s ages and maturity levels. Infants or toddlers are often more adaptable while older children and teens are more likely to resent having to move a lot. Older children will also have more of a routine when it comes to school, extracurriculars, and friends that should not be disrupted.
In cases where physical or emotional abuse occurred, it may not be safe for both parents to continue having contact with each other. Especially if there are restraining orders in place, nesting may not be advisable. It only works if the parties in the divorce have a stable, amicable relationship and when all parties are committed to behaving maturely and fairly. You will need to think about your current relationship with your ex and see if you can manage the potential emotional strain of nesting.
You must also consider your local real estate market and personal finances. Since nesting involves maintaining two or more homes at once, you do need to consider whether it will work in your situation. In cases where parents are not interested in also sharing a home that the child does not live in, nesting is only feasible if you have a lot of savings and income.
Nesting tends to work best when both parents are not interested in dating or moving in with other romantic partners. You will need to talk honestly with your estranged spouse about what you plan on doing in the future. In some cases, it might be wise to put a time limit on your nesting.
How to Create a Nesting Plan That Works for Your Family
Nesting can be an ideal living solution, but it requires some careful consideration. You need to sit down with your spouse and talk over everything very thoroughly. There can be some surprising problems that you will need to stop and think about. In some cases, it can be helpful to discuss your plans with a mediator, and having your divorce lawyer present might be helpful as well. Here are some tips for making a nesting plan that works for you:
- Discuss how long you plan on nesting.
- How will you incorporate your dating life into the nesting later on?
- Decide what responsibilities each person has for maintaining the child’s home and any shared homes.
- If you are going to share a second home, create clear rules for housework, rent payments, and other responsibilities.
- Have clear ground rules for how you will communicate and switch between homes.
If you are interested in a less stressful divorce process, The Law Office of Kelly Berton Rocco can help. Our team provides caring support during a sensitive time, and we work hard to help you come up with a solution that is right for your needs. To schedule a consultation, call our Hackensack office at 201-343-0078 or fill out our online contact form.