Tips for a workable “nesting” child custody strategy

Despite nesting not being a common approach to child custody for parents who divorce, it is gaining traction across the United States. This arrangement allows the children to remain in the family home while the parents take turns moving in and out to care for them.

Many families say nesting provides continuity and consistency for their kids by letting them enjoy the comforts of the only home they’ve known. Parents who support this approach say it can also save money by eliminating the need to buy duplicate essentials in a second home.

How do nesting families make it work?

Nesting isn’t for everyone. In some cases, parents continue to live in the same house, at least for a defined period. Others find another place to live when they aren’t at home with the kids. However, those who embrace the approach offer this advice:

  • Respect the other parent’s privacy: When divorced parents continue to live under the same roof with their kids, it’s vital to set boundaries by agreeing to keep certain rooms or areas off-limits.
  • Set a deadline: Agree to a specific end-date for this shared nesting arrangement. Use the time to build a cooperative co-parenting relationship with your ex, and do not focus on rekindling romance.
  • Put your kids first: Regardless of who technically owns the house, remember that the primary goal is to create a safe and loving environment for your kids. To minimize potential conflicts with the other parent, draw up a schedule, so parenting time is clearly marked.
  • Enjoy time away: If you move out of the home when it’s not your time with the kids, use it to your advantage. Reconnect with family or friends. Some parents even stay with those they are close to when it’s not their time to be with the kids at the family home.
  • Communicate: Always include your children in discussions over this arrangement. While experts say children can only absorb so much information at once, nesting allows kids to understand and accept these massive changes in a less chaotic environment. Some are much more likely to take these changes with positivity, or even a sense of adventure.

Consider an alternate approach for parental responsibility

While nesting may not make sense for every family, no rule says parents must adopt the traditional two-household post-divorce arrangement. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best strategy for your family.

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