Nesting is a transitional arrangement for parents to consider when starting the separation/divorce process. Nesting means that your children remain in the marital residence, and the parents take turns being in the home with the children and acting as the “on-duty” parent. The parents follow a specific parenting schedule outlining when each parent will be in the home with the children. Nesting requires that each parent has another place to stay when it is not their parenting time, such as a family or friend’s home, or a second residence. While parents may find the concept of moving back and forth cumbersome, it does allow parents to experience firsthand what the children are expected to start doing once the nesting arrangement ends.
The nesting process can be done for as long as it is feasible and makes sense for your family. Even if this arrangement only makes sense for a short period of time, it can still be valuable in helping your children with the initial shock and confusion of their parents separating. How long the nesting arrangement lasts may depend on whether one parent is keeping the home, and how long it will take the other parent to obtain a new residence.
An attorney can help you prepare a detailed, thoughtful nesting agreement that will allow you and your spouse to start the separation process on your own terms. This can be especially helpful if the parents are not ready to legally initiate a divorce or dissolution action. Certain topics that should be discussed and agreed upon before implementing a nesting arrangement include:
- Specific parenting schedule
- Where the other parent will be when it is not their parenting time
- How the household bills will be divided and paid
- Duties related to maintenance of the home during each parent’s time (groceries, cleaning, etc.)
- Whether the parents want to allow for times when both parties may be at the home together (weekly dinner, family meetings, birthday parties, etc.)
- Whether dating will be permitted during a parent’s parenting time
- How long the nesting arrangement will last. This may depend on whether one party is retaining the home, whether a refinance is required, or if the parties decide to sell.
1. The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce, by Ann Gold Buscho, PH.D. https://drannbuscho.com/
2. “Are You Getting a Divorce and Thinking About Nesting?” by Susan Pease Gadoua L.C.S.W.