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Nesting as an Option for Divorced Couples Considering Co-Parenting

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What is Nesting?

It is very common to end up with a co-parenting arrangement after a divorce. This is because co-parenting is usually in the best interest of the child. Even if the parents divorce and no longer cohabitate, having both parents actively involved with raising the child is usually best.

However, moving the child between two separate households can be stressful. This is why some families opt for a nesting arrangement. According to Psychology Today, a “nesting” arrangement is when the child stays in one house and the parents rotate in and out.

Is Nesting for Us?

Co-parenting can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but a nesting arrangement does require a high level of communication and trust between the parents. If you and your ex-spouse are on acrimonious terms, nesting may not be a good option.

Nesting is better for ex-couples who have good communication patterns and a desire to keep the child’s environment as steady as possible through the divorce. Nesting is generally less disruptive than moving the child between two houses, particularly if the parents cannot afford to live in the same neighborhood after a divorce. Nesting may be the only real option to keep the child in the same neighborhood with the same friends and the same school district.

What Are Other Reasons to Discount the Notion of Nesting?

Nesting isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you and your situation, please do not think that is a failure on your part. There are many reasons why nesting may not be a realistic option for you and your ex.

Perhaps chief among the reasons why someone should not consider nesting is if there is a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or abject cruelty coming from one of the ex-partners.

If one party fails to respect the other’s time in the house or the agreed upon nesting plan, then this is likely to fall apart before long. It’s one thing to be late on occasion but one cannot create a reputation of disrespect for the other party and expect their arrangement to hold up.

Divorced couples divorced for a reason. If it was because you two fought constantly, then you need to find a way to set aside that conflict in order to make a co-parenting plan like nesting work for your children. If that proves to be impossible, then maybe nesting isn’t for you.

How Long Does This Situation Last?

Usually, nesting is a temporary situation. Most commonly, nesting will last a few months. This is usually enough time for arrangements to settle after the divorce and allow the parents to set up independent households.

However, it is possible for nesting to last several years. In some cases, the family decides to nest until the child moves out.

What Are Common Problems Seen in Nesting Arrangements?

The most commonly seen issue that arises in nesting as a co-parenting method is that the two adults continue to clash. If you cannot occupy the same space as the other person or if you hate each other’s guts, then maybe co-parenting with a method like nesting isn’t a realistically viable option for you.

In co-parenting, especially with nesting, you need to be open with each other about your children. You need to share information with your co-parenting partner about new developments in your child’s lives, health, school, and other matters. Children like routine, and so it is also important for both parents to subscribe to abide by the routine for their child’s sake.

If you are sharing the same space, you may feel entitled to the items in the house. But you must agree on what can and cannot be touched or removed from the home. Failure to abide by the wishes of your nesting partner may result in lost trust and the inability to continue with the arrangement.

And while it is not impossible to start a new relationship, it may present some troubles. Dating someone new and bringing them over to the house may be confusing for the children and it will require that the new partner is aware of the arrangements in place. It may be wise to keep dating to your ‘off-duty’ time altogether and keep the nest and your social life separate, at least for now. Most therapists agree that you should consider waiting around 10 months of being in a committed relationship before you introduce your new partner to your children. Whether you decide to follow this advice is up to you, but you should attempt to take all necessary steps to reduce confusion and a sense of loss in your child’s life.

Is a Lawyer or Therapist Necessary?

A lawyer and a therapist are not required to draw up a nesting plan, but both professionals would be recommended.

A therapist can help you and the other co-parent sort through questions and concerns.

Your lawyer, meanwhile, can act as a mediator as you draft a nesting arrangement. They may use their years of experience to point out issues or questions you might otherwise not have thought of.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer to Discuss Your Needs

Please contact our law offices to speak with a lawyer about drafting a co-parenting plan. The legal team of Terri Herron Law is experienced in a number of matters stemming from divorce, including the matters of co-parenting.

Our law firm offers a free consultation to all prospective clients. This is a no-obligation, free initial case evaluation. If you do not feel we are the proper fit for you and your needs, you are under no obligation to retain our services.

To speak with a member of our legal team, please contact our law offices at 404-418-7777.

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