For those unfamiliar with the divorce term “nesting,” the term is often used to describe a situation where the children remain in the marital home (“nesting home”) and the divorced or separated parents individually alternate their time living with them there.
Bird’s Nest Custody
For example, the parents may alternate one week on and one week off, living in the nesting home. During the off-week, each parent may have their own living accommodations, or the parents may alternate staying in an apartment that they rent together.
The soon-to-be-divorced parents often have good intentions when they decide on a nesting situation for their children. Nesting may provide children with as little disruption as possible as they adjust to their parent’s divorce. All that being said, here are some items to consider if thinking about setting up a nesting situation:
How long do the parents envision this nesting situation will last? If one parent wants to stop the arrangement, what steps would be taken by the parents regarding the home and working out a new custody plan for the children?
Can the parents work together in setting up a schedule for cleaning, laundry, and other regular household activities? If a parent remarries or decides to live with a significant other, how would this affect the nesting situation at the home? What rules regarding privacy and respect should be in place for a parent’s personal property that remains at the home when the parent is not there?
Could each parent reasonably afford an alternate place to live when they are not at home with the children? If the parents decide to rent an apartment together to use when they are not with the children, what would be the terms of that agreement?
How would the nesting home expenses be divided between the parents? Would the parents be able to work together with regard to decisions pertaining to household expenses, maintenance, and repairs? How would the parents handle their financial disagreements?
Ownership of Home
Upon divorce or separation, how would the nesting home be owned by the parents? If each party owns 50%, what would happen if a party wants to sell their share? What would happen upon the death of a parent?
If unforeseen disputes arise and the parents cannot work out an amicable solution, what would be the next steps? Would the parents attend mediation to try to resolve their issues?
The above are just some items to consider if thinking about nesting. As every situation is unique, there may be more items to consider. It is important to note that what may work well for some divorced or separated parents may not work well for others.