The Pros and Cons of Nesting
Figuring out living arrangements after a divorce can be complicated. Should the father move out of the marital home or should the mother? Where should the children’s favorite toys or school supplies be located? Most divorced parents live in separate homes and their children spend time in each of the two houses. However, some innovative parents have found another way to co-parent. It is called “nesting”—sometimes known as “bird-nest parenting”—and it refers to a living arrangement where children stay in one home and the parents take turns spending time with them.
In such a scenario, for example, the mother may stay with the children in the primary home for two weeks each month. She would then go back to a home of her own for the other two weeks while the father stays with the children.
Nesting Is Not for Everyone
Nesting does certainly make things easier on the children in many ways. They have one location to keep all their things and one place to call home. This predictability and constancy is healthy for the children and can help make the transition after a split easier.
Such an arrangement, however, is not feasible for everyone. The main drawback of nesting is cost. To effectively make the arrangement work, parents must split the costs of three homes: the children’s home, and both of their personal homes. Some parents solve this problem by renting small, inexpensive apartments—or even using the same alternative apartment since it will only be used by one person at a time. Many parents who choose a nesting plan keep most of their belongings at the children’s home in order to save money.
Another consideration is the legal consequences of a nesting arrangement. Nesting can impact property division, spousal support (alimony) and child support orders. There can be financial complications surrounding sharing a home. Parents will have to share the costs and responsibilities of grocery shopping, home repairs, and cleaning. This can be especially difficult for parents who do not get along well together. This is why nesting, in virtually every case, is a voluntary decision. The court may approve such a parenting plan, but it will generally not order a nesting arrangement on its own.
Nesting arrangements will almost certainly affect new romantic relationships. If the relationship becomes serious and one of the parents’ wishes to remarry or have children with their new spouse, nesting may not be possible.
It takes a tremendous amount of patience and communication for parents to nest successfully. However, it is well worth the effort as nesting is generally in the children’s best interest because it helps children adapt to the changes in the family and makes the transition easier.
No co-parenting strategy is perfect, but with a little creativity and flexibility, you and your ex can find a strategy which works for you and your family. To learn more about your parenting options following a divorce, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.