Apr 3, 2019

Nesting: A Way to Ease Children into the Inevitable Changes Caused by Divorce

Sarah Miruzzi

Nesting: A Way to Ease Children into the Inevitable Changes Caused by Divorce

Even if the decision to get divorced is in the best interests of you and your partner, the resulting physical separation can be traumatizing for children. The best way for children to adjust to their parents’ separation is, to the extent possible, to maintain stability both in and out of the home.  While families will inevitably experience changes and tension as they navigate the divorce process, there are various ways for parents to minimize the effects of divorce on children. One such way is by implementing a parenting schedule which involves “nesting.” 

Nesting involves both parents rotating in and out of the former marital residence to exercise their parenting time, while otherwise residing in separate residences. This way, the parents move and the children remain in the home that is familiar to them.  Some of the biggest benefits to nesting are practical in nature.  For instance, it allows parents and children alike to come to terms with the divorce without the children being separated from their home and belongings. Also, it aids in maintaining the status quo for the children as it relates to their social lives, transportation to and from school and activities, and physical proximity to neighborhood friends.

Nesting is certainly not for every family, and usually is not a long-term solution.  Concerns about nesting may include sending children the wrong message (perhaps that their parents are going to reconcile or that the arrangement is going to be permanent). Parents must also be mindful that this approach is probably not well suited for those who need to impose boundaries on their soon-to-be ex. For example, it is common during the divorce process for each spouse to enjoy exclusive possession and occupancy of their respective residences, which can give both parties a feeling of security and autonomy in the midst of the divorce. Thus, since nesting would completely disavow that notion, the nesting arrangement works best in situations where the parties are generally amicable and have a successful co-parenting track record.

If you think nesting may be a good option for your family, you should seek an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in family law and raise the issue early so it has the best chance of being effectively implemented.

To learn more, contact Sarah Miruzzi

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